Monday, June 6, 2016

Why Invest in Leadership

Why Leadership Matters


The power of leadership cannot be ignored in the knowledge economy.  The lack of leadership is plaguing many organizations around the world. The organization is the shadow of the leader. A leader must not only understand the essentials of leadership but also be a master in the application of these essentials. The great news is that we all can learn the essentials needed to influence others in a positive driven direction. It all starts with influencing ourselves. A great leader creates a great culture so the organization can take on the culture created by a leader. Here are 7 essentials to great leadership:

1.      Understanding leadership. Leadership is influence. The influence is accomplished by the hunger of the leader to change the status quo. Hunger is the gap between the current reality and the vision where the organization needs to go. The leader is the thermostat of the organization she/he leads.

2.      Attitude of a leader. Our attitude is the window to the world. Leaders transform problems into opportunities. Leaders associate with positive people. Leaders confront fears and grow because they learn to fail. Leaders wear the leadership lenses to see the world. Leaders have thick skin and soft heart. Leaders make tough decisions and manage them.

3.      Dealing with people. Leaders find the genius in their followers inspiring them to realize their full potential. Leaders make others feel comfortable around them. Leaders have the ability to use words to create positive images. Leaders are masters of conflict resolution. Leaders are masters of the art of asking questions and listen not only to what is being said but also to what is not being said.

4.      Building trust. Trust increases the speed of business. A leader creates trust by having a stellar dynamic character. A leader produces results by keeping a visible scorecard. A leader builds strong relationships throughout an organization and out in the world. Leaders demonstrate the right behaviors everywhere they go. Leaders reduce the taxes from low organization trust. Leaders increase the dividends from high organization trust.

5.      Making decisions and getting results. Decisions compound over time, either in a positive or negative direction. Leaders understand the positive compound effect of great decisions over time. Leaders invest heavily in themselves and the time they spent with their mentors. Leaders produce results because they accrue momentum over time.

6.      Mastering communication. Leaders are master communicators. Leaders are influencers because of their ability to trigger positive emotions from the words they speak in the form of stories. Leaders communicate through stories, the language of imagination. They word and stories they use carry weight and conveying feelings of hope and love of a better future.

7.      Rewards of leadership. There is a ripple effect of leadership. There is happiness and joy in leadership. Leaders improve the lives of everyone involved by creating wining cultures characterized by honesty, accountability, collaboration, results driven, agile, adaptable and innovative. Leaders create cultures that play to win, win big!

Please share with others; the world will be a better place because you did.
Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."

"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Invest in you and change your life

The best investment you can make


What is the best investment you can make? It is an investment in you; an investment in developing your leadership potential to lead yourself to a better future. There are still a few open spots for you to join us this August. 

Here is why:

1.      You are the best asset you have. You are an asset that brings you income. The return on investing for improving yourself is astronomically higher than any other financial investment you can possibly make. Why would you not take a small percentage of your income and invest in yourself? Imagine if businesses did not make investments.

2.      You can create your own future. It's your responsibility to nurture your own growth and prosperity. Why wait for others to invest in you? Time is the critical factor in compounding the returns on investments; the sooner you start the bigger the end results. If you don’t create your own future others will do it for you. The question is who benefits from the investment? Why allow others determine your destiny? You are the best person to determine what your ideal future is. Prepare and your chance will come.

3.      You can achieve your own goals and dreams. Investing in you dramatically increases the probability of achieving your goals and dreams. When you have skin in the game you demonstrate your commitment to achieving them. Once you make the investment you are more likely to pay attention to it, to see that you get the best return in terms of a better lifestyle.

4.      You can deal with changes and complexity. An investment in your self-education allows you to deal with the rapid rate of change. It is impossible to know everything you need to know or do alone. You must learn from others that have lessons readily available for you to learn. You can't be your best without help from others that have achieved the results in life you are looking for. Find and invest in the best information you can find. Apply the right from those who have succeeded to sole complex problems.

5.      You can acquire new skills. In the knowledge economy, the world does not pay for diplomas; it pays for skills. Your real education starts when you are done with high school or college. It is extremely important for you to discover your purpose (passions, potential, and profit) in life. Take advantage of professional development opportunities around you. Build your network of relationships.

6.      You can live a joyful and prosperous life. Focus on the essential things you want to achieve in your life. Learn what opportunities to pursue and what opportunities to abandon, and the legacy you want to leave behind. An investing in yourself will give you the courage, the patience, persistence, and determination to live a prosperous life.

7.     You cannot afford not to do it. You can afford to do it. Trust me on this one. Proven books or audios are awesome resources to build your knowledge and skills in any area. The big secret - little bits of the right information consistently taken and applied over time radically change the way you see and pursue the opportunities all around you. Associate with partners that are chasing their goals and dreams. You will need encouragers and up-lifters in your journey. A great coach or mentor is waiting for you to demonstrate you are serious about investing in yourself. You will have the tools needed to tackle any obstacles coming in the way of living the life you always wanted to live.

Please share with others; the world will be a better place because you did.
Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets.          

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."

Monday, May 30, 2016

Do You Remember?

We Humans


We are all born, live, and die as humans. The purpose in life is to know who we are as humans and to become wiser about ourselves.

1.      We are extremely forgetful. We are all forgetful of small and big things alike. Do we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms? Do you know what you did on May 17, 2016? We only know so much. We don’t know what we don’t know. Much of what we know isn’t so. Thus the reason we need others to tackle the complex problems in life. The best way to deal with our forgetful nature is to write things down in a journal.

2.      We are all creatures of habits. Do we have the habit of expressing gratitude for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could have a better life? Good habits are hard to make and easy to break and bad habit are easy to make and hard to break. To only way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. It takes at least 21 days to establish a new habit. Our habit can make or break us.

3.      We are all fallen creatures. Nations come and nations go. We have short memories. We tend to easily fall for wrong behaviors and cling to negativity. Today is the day to honor our fallen heroes. Have you taken 60 seconds of your day today to remember our Veterans? We make many mistakes yet often are not willing to admit and take full responsibility for them. Admitting mistakes and failures releases us from bondage and allow us to learn from them. Above all, we are all sinners in need of grace.

4.      We are all accumulators. Why don’t we accumulate memories instead of things? We accumulate all kinds of things because we think we will need them later. As item 1 above says, we forget what we already have and end up buying the same thing again. I recently found a case of wine in my house I forgot I had it for 10 years. A great find as the red Argentinian wine appreciated in quality and value; a rare thing indeed since most stuff depreciates with age. No wonder most of us have a hard time prioritizing things. Most of us live by our obligations instead of our priorities. We have a hard time separating the vital few from the trivial many. Essentialists focus on what is essential and build competence in a few areas. In our lifetime we can only build mastery in less than ten areas of expertise.

5.      We are all self-centered and egotistical. Ego blinds us from most of the truth and leads us to live defensively. When we die to self we start living a meaningful life. Offense living is to lose ourselves for the benefits of others. When we help others get what they want we always get what we want. For all those in positions of power, think and reflect about this one.

6.      We are all biased.  Why not be biased towards truth and action? We often think we know how to separate facts from fiction when in reality we don’t. We think we are a bag of whole chips when in reality we are a bag of broken chips and some are just the crumbs. No wonder we have such a hard time finding faults in ourselves and easily find many faults in others. Drop the chip from the shoulder and keep an open mind to learn until the day you die.

7.      We are all opinionated. All we need to do is to read postings and comments in the social media to realize how opinionated we all are. Why not have opinions in our respective areas of knowledge? The extreme cases are called ultracrepidarians (giving opinions beyond one's area of expertise).  Go ahead and call it by name next time you identify one. Be sure to watch his or her face upon hearing their new label. Warning – a person convinced against his or her will is of the same opinion still. Watch - ultracrepidarians think they are good when defending their ignorance.

It is a good thing we are all humans otherwise the world would be a very boring place and absent of opportunities for us to work on ourselves.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets. Please share with others.  
I would love the opportunity to share my Nuggets with your audience!

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."


Friday, May 27, 2016

The 7 Super Nuggets for Graduates

Athens High School Graduation Speech
Carlos Fontana: Personal, financial, and professional development

I am humbled and honored to be here, to be part of your celebration. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your special day. We are very proud of you. Congratulations on your accomplishment, graduating from a great high school. Now you have something to build a life upon. You were all born with great potential, with many talents and abilities. Today I am going to share with you 7 nuggets of wisdom from a life of dreams, struggles and victories. I hope these words help you live a great life. Life is full of opportunities and obstacles. Know that your greatness comes disguised in your difficulties, especially in pain and suffering. If you choose the hard life early on, life will get easier and easier. If you choose the easy life early on, life will get harder and harder. In other words, do the things early in life that will allow you to do truly great things later in life. Life is the sum of your choices.  Take these nuggets and apply them for the rest of your lives. 

1.      Take full control of your personal finances. Money is not evil; the love of money is. Money is not the most important thing in life. However, in the order of importance, it comes just below oxygen. All of us need money. Don’t believe it? Try to live without it. When it comes to money, what really matters is what you do with what is left and not how much you make. Get out of debt and stay out of debt. Debt is like cancer. Debt is a modern form of slavery. People don’t lack money, they lack understanding of money. Learn the principles of money. If you don’t understand the rules of money, money will not stick to you. Invest your money to make time instead of spending time to make money. Time and not money is the substance of life. We must invest time is we would like to have time. We all want time and money and the only way to have both is to invest time and money, instead of spending them.

2.      Define what you want out of your life. If you don’t know where you are going, all roads will get you nowhere. Have dreams and be true to your dreams. If you can dream you can do it. Never live another day without a dream. Your purpose in life is already in you, detect it. What were you uniquely born to become? Why are you living the life you were given? Have a vision. Where are you going? Write things down. If it is not written it does not exist. It is estimated that 98% of the people do not have clearly written down what they want out of life. Only 3% of people have five year goals. Be in that minority. We can never hit a target we don’t have. Make your time matter by succeeding at something that matters. If it is up to be it is up to me.
3.     Be a voracious learner and build your library. Learning never ends. The more you learn, the more you earn. An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend. Read 15 minutes daily and you will read 1,000 books in your lifetime. Listen to audios from people with the results you want. Hang around the people you admire and trust. Seek and find the right mentor and follow the advice you get. Five years from now you will be the same you are today except for the books you read and the people you associate. Apply the knowledge gained to change yourself before you have to. Remember that success is always found on the other side of convenience. At some point in your lives you will be called to lead. Prepare and your chance will come.

4.     Seek creative leisure instead of pleasures. Chase freedom instead of security. True success boils down to one word, freedom; the freedom to be who you were created to be. Seek meaningful work. Love what you do and do what you love. Learn to feel like you matter because you do. Seek learning experiences to be wise. You can learn everywhere you go. Learn to have fun. Invest money to buy the right experiences. Travel expands our horizons. Reflect on your experiences. Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others. The formula for high achievement is hard work plus smart work plus time, in this order. Live by your priorities and not by your obligations.

5.     Tap into the power of gratitude and generosity. Count your blessings for they are many. Be a giver. The biggest secret to living is giving. No one becomes poor by giving. Giving is more effective when we give more than we can spare. Tap into the power of sacrificial giving. The future belongs to the givers not the takers. Serve others. Winston Churchill said we make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. We only find ourselves after losing ourselves for the benefit of others. True happiness comes from serving others. Encourage others. Be an up-lifter and not a downer. Accept, approve, and appreciate others. Never criticize, condemn or complain. Never give or accept your excuses. Be grateful for all the people that helped you get this far in life and many more will help you to get to the next stage.


6.     Master the art and science of communication. Here is another great secret to a happy life. The secret is found in the seconds between stimulus and response. Respond instead of reacting. In those seconds we have the freedom to choose. We regret a lot more from our reactions than from our responses. Learn how to speak in public. Be a friend. True friendships are the greatest treasures in life. Build tight relationships. High trust relationships are the best assets to own. Belong and foster community. Your value is the value of the number of relationships is your community to the second power. Grow in value by growing your community.

7.    Follow the right principles.  Apply these powerful principles.
a.    Think long term. Ask, will it matter 10 years from now? 20 years from now what would I wished I had done today?
b.    Delay gratification. If I have not earned I do not deserve it yet.
c.     Leverage the power of compounding. Compounding is the 8th wonder of the world. Wisdom compounds faster than money.
Have faith and you can achieve anything. We have to believe to see, see to do, do to improve, and improve to succeed. Faith is going to your future to get advice for your future. Fear comes from going back to our past failures to get advice for our future.
Don’t believe the lies the world tells you. Don’t buy into what the world throws at your face either. What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient or urgent. Never ask for easy, only ask for worth it! That is how success works.

You were all created for greatness. You are more capable than you think you are. If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would surprise ourselves. You will live a great life when you decide to live a great life. Sprout those seeds of greatness inside you, nurture and develop the talents and abilities you were given. Have faith and you will overcome any obstacle. Never ever give up. Today is the first day of the rest of your lives. Walk on your purpose and create a destiny simply because you can. America needs you to live a meaningful life.
Thank you and May God bless you. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Are we still the greatest?

Why the Rise of Discontent

Why Make America Great Again is resonating with so many. There is a high level of discontent across the land. America is fast losing the edge it once had in leading the free world. Here are a few

1.    While other nations are rising America is in stagnation.
We are no longer the hungry nation we once were. Readership in America is at an all-time low. America went from a top educator to a top trainer. A top education system is rooted the right values only found in a classical and not a liberal education system.

2.    The forces of decline are at work.
The right long term solutions are at the mercy of what is urgent and convenient. The something for nothing club keeps growing demanding perks from a system that can no longer provide. We must deliberately attack the status quo if we are to make any progress.

3.    The education system is ineffective.
Just study the map. Where is the nation of dreamers? You can go to the best schools in the nation and ask any teenager – what is your dream? The predominant answer will not surprise you – a profession. Our profession now defines who we are. We were all created to be more than what we do for a living.


4.    People are being held in bondage by debt.
The Financial Matrix is at work 24 hours a day. Those in power dictate the terms at will. The financial system is rigged in favor of those in power. Debt is the modern form of slavery. People are lured into debt without realizing the long term consequences of financing a standard of living that is borrowed, and not earned.


5.    Division has taken over the land.
America is falling from within. The rate has only accelerated in the last decade. While we are being distracted and entertained by the media, other nations are eating our lunch. If we don’t wake up, soon will be the breakfast and the dinner too.

6.    Freedom is in a rapid rate of decline.
Little by little our freedoms are being taken away by the government ability to tax and spend without the consent of the governed. No wonder people are behind an unconventional cowboy leader, an outsider. Remember at one point we were a nation of cowboys. If we don’t learn from history, history has a way to come and take a bite out of us!

7.      The Leadership Void is present everywhere we look.
Where have all the leaders gone? Are they all dead or on vacation? Our leaders are a reflection of who we are. We the people, have the responsibility to respond and put America at the top again.

Each one of us can and must do something to Make America Great Again!

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets. Please share with others.  
I would love the opportunity to share my Nuggets with your audience!

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Everywhere we look

What can nature teach us?


Nature can be a powerful source for learning. We all look at the same images yet we get different information. We can never learn enough from nature. Here are many lessons we can learn from nature.

1.    Energy, renewal, stillness, and relaxation. Each season has its own unique looks, smells, and sounds.

2.    Persistence and details. At first things appears the same. The more we study the more we learn.

3.    Flexibility and versatility. The cycle of things from day to day and year to year. From a reed to an oak tree we find different levels of diversity and flexibility to withstand the storms.

4.    Beauty, peace, and love. They are everywhere if we take the time to see, observe and take it in.

5.    Exploration, discovery, and growth. We are either growing or dying. Nothing stays the same. Change is an integral part of all things.

6.    Imagination, creativity, and flow. The only limits are the limits we set on our own imagination. Nature is a natural source of wonderment for us to expand our minds and nourish our spirits and souls.

7.    Humility and divine presence. Nature gives a sense of belonging and protection. Nature gives us hope for provisions for everyone.  Nature is the source of all solutions to the problems we created.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets. Please share with others.  
I would love the opportunity to share my Nuggets with your audience!

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."


Friday, May 20, 2016

The greatest value

The value of the right information



We are all inundated in a sea of information.  The problem with the information age is the excessive amount of poor information or outright misinformation. We are inundated by information. Most of the information floating around is just noise, therefore useless to help one navigate through life. What is the value of the right information? The right information has enormous value. The right information can change the course of one’s life. It did for me when I first read the book by Stephen Covey, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. How does one go about getting the right information? Get the advice from those with the results you want. Above all, the right information is information that can be acted upon. The right information, from the right source, to the right person, at the right time, is of utmost value.

1.      Know what you want. If we don’t know what we want we are vulnerable to accept anything we get. How can we hit a target we don’t have. If we don’t know where we are going any road will take us nowhere.

2.      Get advice. The great value is in the advice and not so much on the information itself. I am willing to pay someone with better results than I have for selecting the right information, like the right book for me to read. I rarely now follow my own advice when selecting the right books to read.

3.      Selectively pursue. Be willing to pursue the right sources of information. Keep going until you find what you are looking for. The sad truth is that most people think the right information has to be free for everyone. In reality, the best information has a cost attached to it, as it should. It is worth paying the price for the right information.

4.      Learn to discern. There is great value in the ability to discern what is true and what is not. Sounds simple when in reality it is not. This is an ability that comes with time in a particular field.

5.      Deep understanding. Most of us are not willing to dedicate enough time to fully understand the information and the consequences, either positive or negative, of applying the information.

6.      Get a mentor. It is amazing how fast one can change the results in life after following the advice of a wise mentor. Success principles are duplicatable and predictable.

7.      Apply the information. No matter how good the information is it has no value unless it is applied. Great results only come after the application of the right knowledge, coming from the right information.

Thank you for reading and reflecting on today’s nuggets. Please share with others.  
I would love the opportunity to share my Nuggets with your audience!

Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana
Author of the book Priceless, Co-author of the book Follow to Lead

"The future belongs to those who can see and pursue opportunities before they are obvious."
"Those that take swift action will always leave those that don't breathing the dust."