We are all called to lead!

I use to sit at a desk all day, stare at a computer and punch out drawings and other tasks as an engineer. As a part of a team, I felt I was just that… a part of a team, not a leader. That was a job for someone else! As I began my journey of personal and leadership development I began to see myself and others through a different perspective. I kept hearing and reading phrases like “We are all called to lead at some point in our lives.” To first understand what everyone kept meaning by that, I had to realize some of the roles and purpose of a leader. A main aspect of leadership is influence, to help influence people towards a certain goal. That influence could be a positive or negative depending on the quality and intent of the leadership. When I looked at it from a perspective of influence I realized that this statement was in fact true. “We are all called to lead at some point in our lives” because we all have influence over others at some point. As an engineer on a team I still had to be able to lead and influence as I spoke to my supervisor about why I felt a schedule or budget should be a certain way or in dealing with other departments in coming to a mutual agreement on a task.

Looking even deeper, I began to see other areas of my life that I was leading, such as: family, church, community, sports, friends and (my wife’s favourite!) shopping. You are probably thinking “shopping… how can you be a leader while shopping?” Did you know that you can influence peoples attitudes and inspire them while you are out shopping? Try it one day! Strike up a conversation with a random person with the only purpose being to make a friend and be a positive light in their day. Try smiling and saying “Hi” to those in front of or behind you in line at the check out. Genuinely listen to their story, you will be amazed at the results! Something so small can influence someone and change the course of their entire day. If you bumped into them weeks later, they may not remember what they had for breakfast the day you met them, however the feeling you left them with will rush back when they see you again.

As I speak with corporations about implementing the LIFE Leadership Corporate Education program I always recommend providing the materials and training for many of their employees, not just management level and above because every one of their employees will be in a leadership role in some point in their career. If that is the case, then wouldn’t it be wise to invest in them before that happens so they have the tools necessary to be an effective leader to help influence people in a positive way? One of my favourite examples of this is the receptionist at your dentist. You voluntarily book an appointment to come in and see the dentist only to be poked, prodded and tugged around by your teeth. After a period of being uncomfortable, and even painful for some, you walk to the receptionist who cheerfully greets you with a smile and you volunteer to book another appointment with them to go through the process again months later! Talk about influence! Talk about leadership! Although the receptionist may not be management or a C-level executive, they hold tremendous amounts of influence over the success of your business.

“We are all called to lead at some point in our lives.” Have you invested in yourself and your employees to have the necessary tools to be successful and influence the business, the team, the customers and the culture towards the vision of the organization?

Be a leader!

God Bless!


The power of our thoughts are so important. It is becoming more widely recognized that mental toughness or mental fitness is a huge part of success in any industry. Olympic athletes park themselves on a bench, block out the world and continuously create a vision of their perfect run. Football and hockey players are constantly throwing verbal assaults to break the mental toughness of their opponent. In business, sport and in life in general, leaders are called to cast a vision for those that follow and then expected to set the example. Curtis in his blog post talks about the conscious and subconscious mind and how when you allow one to feed the other amazing things can happen!

Curtis Spolar

The date was June 20, 1980. I was 14 years old and heavy into sports. I remember the buzz at the time was the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran fight. My dad was a big fan of boxing and that fight was heavily promoted everywhere.
Roberto Duran grew up in Panama without the finer things in life, and resented this good clean cut all American Golden Child from the U.S.  Leonard wasn’t considered built but he was lightning fast.  Roberto was a fierce boxer that nobody could go toe to toe with.  He was focused on one thing, and that was to humiliate Leonard in the ring and Roberto let Leonard know it.  People would say that when you looked into Roberto Duran’s eyes, it was like looking into the eyes of the devil.
The human mind is the greatest computer on the planet. We program that computer every…

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Harry S. Truman — ‘Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.’ Reading is an important habit for anyone at high levels or anyone wishing to achieve greater success in their personal and professional lives. It allows the reader to gain the knowledge of the author without having to go through the same road block the author did. Chris Brady gives some great pointers from his book Turn The Page on how to read to get the most effect. If you are going to invest the time to read and improve, you might as well get the most out of your investment! Enjoy!


Read to Lead

Water Cannon Vs. Noisy Cricket: Is your training as effective as it could be?

When it comes to training, we all have our own way of doing it. Maybe we like to have a speaker come in to the office and teach, send employees to a seminar, provide on-line courses or create a fancy power point and manual. But how much thought do we give to the role of the mind and how it absorbs the information when we make these choices? We might spend months researching the latest computer or software for our organization, however if we don’t train and engage the mind correctly, our most expensive computer system, our mind, will not be able to retain the information that it is fed.

Image courtesy of kibsri / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of kibsri / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was young my family and neighborhood friends use to have water gun fights around our block. We would typically equip ourselves with anything from water balloons to a water cannon to something the equivalent size of the noisy cricket from the movie Men In Black. The water cannons were, naturally, everyone’s favorite choice as it came with a backpack reservoir able to hold 5-6L of water and packed a powerful punch. Once fully primed, it sprayed with the same distance and intensity as a garden hose! Needless to say, if you were ever caught in its crosshairs you were toast. Completely soaked! For the person hit with this bombardment of water the sense of relief from the cool water would soon fade into warm, wet and uncomfortable clothes. Although as much of formidable weapon as the water cannon was, once the water ran out you were slow and vulnerable to attacks from the smaller noisy crickets of the water gun world. It was a stealthier and more nimble assailant able to swoop in and deliver precise strikes. Although never causing someone to become drenched in water, the constant squirts left you shocked each time they hit you as the cold water sprayed against your back or chest. As soon as you could dry in the hot sun from such a squirt another stream would catch you and you would again become energized. As I look back I realize that, even though everyone had a great time and became refreshed, the state in which everyone was left at the end was drastically different. Those hit with the water cannon were often left soaked in uncomfortable, warm wet clothes and had to spend time drying off and changing, whereas the ones hit with the noisy cricket packed away their weapon of choice and immediately went on to enjoy other activities, even if still a little damp.

In recent years I have come to find a similarity in the delivery styles of leadership and training methods. Although both approaches teach fantastic principles and similar principles, the delivery of the teaching can have a great effect on the participant’s retention and long term change. We will equate it to being delivered information from the mouth of the water cannon and from the noisy cricket.

A water cannon approach would be a typical training event or seminar where hundreds or thousands of dollars are spent to have you or employees attend. This could either be having a professional trainer come to your office to speak or to attend a seminar or conference with thousands of others. A speaker or presenter conveys a message and principles that are geared to help change your thinking and your business. A talk is delivered that has all the right transitions, highs and lows, and stories to help illustrate the main points. Most likely the presenter has practiced and delivered this talk hundreds of times and can deliver it with accuracy to have the most affect. The content is top notch, the atmosphere is makes you tingle and speaker does a phenomenal job. You are pumped, exhilarated, energized and ready to change the world! After a couple of hours or the weekend has wrapped up you head home and back to the office in hopes of implementing some of the fantastic nuggets that were imparted on to you. Just like the water cannon, this is like a short blast of refreshment that leaves you energized, only to have the effects wear off and leave you thirsting for more. Information retained in this method is small at best, maybe a little better if you where taking fantastic notes. I had coffee with a gentleman the other day who expressed his frustration with this method as he would return to the office only to be met with the same negativity and culture as when he left. Employees feel empowered and then discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, these events are fantastic and important to attend several times a year in order to help realign you goals, vision and to help motivate you to perform at a high caliber for months to come. Especially valuable is getting around the association that is often at these events and connect with others who are on the same path as yourself is invaluable.

The other method of learning would the noisy cricket approach. In the movie Men In Black, the noisy cricket was a small pistol that could fit in the palm of your hand. Although small, it had a tremendous effect and often left those on the receiving end with their minds blown at what it could do! This approach would be where you are constantly fed small doses of information over a period of time to help train your mind. Similar to how you would eat an elephant, one bite at a time. It can take place in a book here, audios there and associating with others on the same journey as you regularly. When information is repeated a large quantity tends to gets stored in the hard drive of your mind and often with very minimal amounts of effort. This is similar to listening to a song on the radio or tv show theme song and how, even though we don’t sit and study the lyrics, the song becomes ingrained in our memory. For instance, during lunch in high school I would come home to watch reruns of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and just from hearing the theme song over and over it is something I still remember to this day! “Now this is a story all about how…” Visions of Carlton, the cousin, dancing are coming to mind… Anyway, moving on. This is the same with any information we feed ourselves. Whether it be allowing TV or the radio to program us or if we deliberately chose the information we allow to penetrate our minds. Zig Ziglar coined the phrase “Automotive University”. He stated that by changing the audio someone listens to while driving to and from work every day, they can obtain the equivalent to a university degree in a couple of years. Claude Hamilton, a founder of LIFE Leadership, mentioned that he use to have leadership audios playing in the background while doing menial tasks and after consistently listening to several a day the speakers words would come out of his mouth in a conversation, much to his surprise! Another thing about audios is that the source is pure. There is no reinterpreting your notes, having it turn into a dreadful telephone game as you try and relay the concepts to business partners. Instead everyone has the opportunity to learn directly from the source. Reading is another fantastic way to help gain other successful peoples perspectives. An author can compress all of his or her life experiences in to a couple hundred pages that can be consumed in several hours. Now, if you read like me, it might take a little longer! This allows you to bypass the pitfalls the author had to overcome and jump right to the principles that helped them become successful. The saying “experience is the best teacher” holds some truth; however a smart man will learn from someone else’s experience as it is definitely quicker and can be less painful! Reading allows you to speak to yourself using the authors’ words to help create a long term change. Small doses over time. Creating a habit of reading personal or professional growth books for 15 minutes every day and listening to 2-3 audios will give yourself the edge in any industry you are in. Top level athletes practice constantly. This is the same for anyone wishing to achieve mastery in their chosen field.

LIFE Leadership was designed to take advantage of both the water cannon and the noise cricket styles of teaching. We typically learn through small bits of information, repeated over a period of time. This allows the mind to absorb the information, gives new success habits time to form and it creates a long term thinking change. Additionally, we recognize that everyone needs times throughout the year to recharge, to refocus and make some course corrections and utilize meetings or seminars. Or perhaps, for someone just starting on their success journey to solidify a vision for the path they want to pursue.

LIFE Leadership has developed a 6 month corporate training program that brings both methods together to give your organization a maximum impact and a long term cultural change. This can be taken by an individual wishing to grow in their career or as a corporation wanting to have their training be more effective and lasting. Instead of learning methods and ideas from one person, LIFE Leadership has created a system where you are able to leverage the thinking of several influential leaders listed on the Top 50 Leadership and Management Trainers list from INC. Magazine. For as little as $50 per month (+tax/shipping) per employee, individuals would receive 1 book and 4 audios every month. No commitment necessary to the whole 6 month program and a 30 day money back guarantee! We are that confident in the material! Employers are given the assurance that employees are absorbing the information by being supplied with quizzes designed specifically to match the materials that month and thus creating accountability within the organization. Once a month, we also encourage employers to allow those participating to meet and discuss the principles learned from program and how specifically they can implement them on a daily basis. Setting short-term and long-term personal and corporate goals will give employees an opportunity to engage and feel satisfaction from achieving multiple goals throughout the year. Upon completion, each individual participant is given a certificate of completion to proudly display!

For more information on the LIFE Leadership Corporate Training program, check it out here. Find out what other organizations such as, Delta Airlines and Ferris State University, are already experiencing. What if all your organization needed was a proven system to equip your employees with the tools necessary to create a long term cultural change and improve areas such as employee engagement, customer service, conflict resolution, public speaking, leadership development and so much more? Why not learn more or even give the program a try? No commitment necessary, an investment that is fractions the price of other training programs and 30 day money back guarantee. The risk… minimal. The return on investment… well, that is up to you!

God Bless

Alex Stiehl