Morning Cup of Joe – New Beginnings

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No matter what you’ve been through or are currently going through it does not have to stay like that. While some of our problems may be the result of our circumstances, a majority of those problems are a result of the sum of our choices. We have all made questionable decisions and poor judgment calls in the past. Those decisions and choices are exactly why we are where we are today.

If you truly want to change your circumstances, you have to first believe that change is possible. Secondly, you must be willing to start from where you are right now. Lastly, you must be committed to that change. Understand that we place many of our perceived limitations on ourselves by not acknowledging the fact that others with similar situations have found a way out. Guess what? Your way out is possible if you follow a similar path. If you follow the path of a successful person, you will get similar results.

Did you know that there are others like you who have experienced turmoil? While your issue may seem like the biggest one in the world, you are not alone. Did you know that most successful people have one main thing in common; they never give up. They keep moving and working tirelessly until they reach their desired results. As long as you are not willing to quit and commit to being successful, it can and will happen. There is truly no time like the present. Take advantage of the days you are blessed to see.

Don’t wait until tomorrow to get what you know you deserve today. The change you seek happens when you decide enough is enough. If you can read this, it’s not too late. In fact, it’s never too late. Everyone has to start somewhere. When will you decide to start?

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Soaring With Eagles

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We don’t have a choice who our family members are but we certainly reserve the autonomy to choose our friends. Believe it or not, the people who you choose to associate with are a direct reflection of you. Simply, you are and will become who you choose to hang around with. Like the adage says, birds of a feather flock together. With that said, choose friends who are going to encourage you to be better.

I am truly fortunate to have the incredible circle of friends I currently have in my life. So much so, that I truly consider them brothers and sisters. These friends force me to be better than I already am. If all of your friends look up to you, you need new friends. Your circle of influence should motivate you to be better and vice versa. You cannot reasonably expect to soar with eagles if you dwell with turkeys. Choose to fly with the best. Being around people who motivate you to be better will ultimately improve and benefit your entire circle. Challenge each other.

There are three important keys to being a great friend; undeniable loyalty, staying committed and being dependable. A great friend is one who is there through the good times and especially through the bad. A great friend is one who supports you wholeheartedly, whether they agree with you or not. A great friend is one you can depend on and is always present when you need them not just when its convenient. A great friend is one who makes a life-long commitment to the relationship. Likewise, you cannot reasonably expect a friend to exemplify these attributes if you are not showing them that you’re capable of being loyal, committed or dependable to them as well; it works both ways.

Be the friend you expect your friends to be and you’ll never be disappointed. Change your circle of friends if the don’t challenge you to be great.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Challenge Accepted

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Don’t ever turn down a challenge. One summer while conducting my annual leadership summit for our Summer Youth Leadership Internship program, one of the organization’s senior leaders suddenly walks in and says “I need a volunteer”. Without hesitation, one of my star interns raised his hand having no clue of the challenge at hand yet accepted anyway. She didn’t tell him what she wanted done before asking for a volunteer but he accepted anyway. That’s what winners do, we accept challenges without the specific knowledge of the task at hand yet are confident that we can execute it to the best of our abilities.

About a half-hour had passed before he quietly eased his way back into the large conference room. Once he returned from his “secret” mission, our entire group was eager to hear about what she had asked of him. Before he could answer that question, I asked him a different one. I asked him, “why did you say yes to something without the specific knowledge of the details?” His reply made complete sense. He said “I accepted because I figured whatever she was going to ask me to do, she clearly felt that one of us had the ability to do it”. And I thought, Bingo!

Accepting a challenge even if you don’t know the specifics is essential to your growth as an individual and as a leader. By accepting new challenges you are able to learn new skills and strengthen your abilities overall. Never turn down an offer to be better. What doesn’t kill you will certainly make you stronger.

Learn to recognize the life lessons that are learned by accepting challenges and learning as you go. I challenge you to start saying “Yes!” to opportunities that increase your overall value.

Do you accept this challenge?

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Recognize Your Brilliance

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Sometimes it’s important to simply give yourself a “pat on the back”. Due to humility, many of us don’t give our accomplishments the recognition they deserve. In many cases, you may not be recognized at all for the great works you are doing or have done yet that should not stop you from giving your best every single time. You are solely responsible for recognizing and rewarding your own accomplishments; we should not wait nor count on anyone else to do it for us.

There will be things that you will do which will create a sense of certainty that you will receive an award yet the award may never come. Certainly, there are things you have done in the past that was reward worthy yet not one person recognized you or your efforts. While we should never do something for the sake of recognition, it is imperative that we understand that your reward may not come in the form of a trophy or certificate. The reward may very well be the satisfaction of a good deed.

It is imperative that we not wait for someone else to recognize us for our efforts. Learn to compliment yourself. Learn, understand and practice the importance of giving yourself daily affirmations that confirm your brilliance. Just because no one says “great job” doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing one. Understand and commit to memory that you are truly great and no trophy nor award will ever deny nor confirm this. You are what you think you are; a winner.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Carbon Copy

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Stop trying to be someone you’re not. Being yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and to the world. Accept the fact that you are truly unique in every aspect of the word. I want to stress the point of emulation; it is ok to emulate someone successful. The goal is to reap the benefits of and yield similar results that the successful person has by emulating or imitating their actions. This type of imitation is healthy. The imitation I speak of in the first sentence deals specifically with those of you who choose to live your life based on someone else’s standards and expectations. You can choose to change that today.

It is imperative that you write your own story. As I mentioned before, many people make the mistake of trying to mimic the actions of the wrong person. You will know the person you are choosing to imitate is not the “chosen” one when the results you are producing are less than favorable. Your mentor is producing results that benefit them as a result of being themselves; you need to do the same. Everything that makes them great is precisely what can and will make you great if you put your personal spin on it.

Learn to trust, love and accept yourself for who you are and what you can give to the world. Commit to memory the fact that you are uniquely gifted; allow the world to benefit from your gifts. The one song that kept playing in my head as I shared this word with you is Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. The final verse of that song, in so many words, epitomizes the walk of a leader; “For what is a man? What has he got? If not himself – Then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.”

You already have the roadmap to success, now all you have to do is do it your way!

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Leadership Defined

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While some of my readers own their own businesses, many of you reading this are not yet CEO’s or Presidents of a corporation. In business, there are a couple of ways to get to the top of a corporation; one can climb up the corporate ladder step by step until they finally reach the position of CEO or the position of CEO can be appointed by a board of directors of sorts. Either way, I want you to be clear about the fact that a position doesn’t define leadership. Just because you have the title of CEO does not mean that you are an effective leader.

A true leader does not need nor care for any titles to define his or her role. A leader does not need a particular title to encourage action; we simply do what needs to be done. Leaders step up to the plate and bat even if they have to pinch hit. Please understand that just because you are not at the top of an organization does not mean you cannot affect change. There are world figures that have altered the very way we see things that have never held a top position in a company. Martin Luther King Jr. did not need a title to encourage him to act; he simply stood up for what he felt was right and was even willing to die for it. True leaders take actions that may not be popular but are always just.

Do not allow a position to determine where you will end up in this life. Most people work based on the job duties as assigned believing that some things are simply out of their pay grade. Basically, they will not do what they are not getting paid for. If you are guilty of this, snap out of it. Remember that someone is always watching so be sure to be your very best each and every day. Focus on the possibilities and stop restricting yourself by not recognizing the leader within. You don’t need a position to define you, you define yourself.

Just because you are not the President or CEO of a company does not mean you shouldn’t act like it.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Action vs Reaction

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There are plenty of reasons to feel down about our misfortunes. In your mind, everyone seems to be enjoying their blessings all the while yours seem to be in a holding pattern. No matter what you do, nothing seems to be working. It feels as if the whole world is plotting against you. It isn’t so much the things that happen to us but how we respond to them that is so critical to our progression. How you react to your situation is paramount to you overcoming it.

While you are not responsible for the actions others take towards you, you are certainly responsible for how you receive, interpret and react to it. There have been times in the past when constructive criticism was offered by a colleague or a friend and I took it personally. They were simply offering alternatives that may have served to improve my overall project. That is not how I saw it; I took it personally. My first mistake was taking it personally. The words “don’t take it personally” have literally changed my life. With this new understanding, I no longer feel as if the advice one is offering is a personal attack on my knowledge, skills and abilities.

Never make the mistake of thinking that you know everything about anything. Understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Simply, while your approach may be a viable one, keep an open mind and accept the fact that there are other approaches just as viable. It should never be your way or the highway. If someone cares enough to share their thoughts on a process or idea that you can improve, embrace it with open arms. Do not allow your ego to trick you into believing that you know everything.

The wisest among us knows that he knows nothing at all.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Lack Of Direction

There was a conference being held in Orlando which featured some big names including Bobby Bowden, Tony Robbins, Colin Powell and Zig Ziglar. Yes all of these folks in the same building spreading powerful and motivational messages to folks willing to listen. The event was being held at the Amway Arena and I can assure you that it was a packed house. As we entered, the staff asked us to place our business cards in a huge bucket-like contraption in order to be considered for a drawing. Each speaker would pull one card from this bucket and that person will win a prize from the speaker; a set of books, tapes, videos or a combination of them.

After a few speakers, Zig Ziglar was up. I have always had an affinity for Zig because one of my mentors, Jeff Hoffman, introduced me to Zig through his books. He encouraged me to read as many of his books as I can and to retain as much information as it would change my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Zig Ziglar completed his incredible talk and it was time for him to pull a name from the bucket. The odds of winning were 1 in 20,000. He reached his hand deep into the bucket, shuffled around and pulled one out. “Joe Paul” he said. “Come on down here and get a set of these good books and CD’s.” The co-workers I attended the event with were as shocked as I was, particularly due to the fact that the odds were not in our favor. In a strange way, I sort of knew that he was going to call my name and he did.

I had a chance to speak to Zig Ziglar for a brief moment and began reading more and more of the dozens of books he’d written. A few of his unforgettable quotes that have become part of my mantra includes;

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” – Zig Ziglar

One of my all-time favorite quotes from Zig Ziglar is “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” It’s so funny when I hear people say “I don’t have enough time” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day to get what I need done.” I always wonder what they are doing with the 24 hours they have, most likely not utilizing it to its full potential.

Zig Ziglar was a major influence in my developing a passion for motivational speaking coupled with my testimony to serve as an example of what’s possible when you don’t allow your past to overshadow your future. I encourage you to read one of his books, I hope it will inspire you in ways that it has inspired me.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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Morning Cup of Joe – Outside Looking In

No one should know what’s going on inside your house, especially if they’re standing on the outside. When you look at some people you can tell exactly what they are going through. Indeed some people are interested in the attention they may attract and others fall into the category of “misery loves company”. Wearing your feelings outwardly is obviously done at your discretion. The issue comes when you allow those feelings to dictate your actions and/or in-actions for that matter. For some strange reason, the opinions of others matter to us so much so that many of us live our lives based on this premise. That is something you must work on eliminating from the equation. What others think should not matter to you but it still shouldn’t prevent you from striving to be your best at all times. What others think about you is none of your concern.

Wearing your feelings outwardly is only one piece of this puzzle; another vital piece is your appearance. It is critically important that you look the part. Fake it ‘til you make it simply means look like you already have that which you are seeking and it will appear into your life more willingly. Please be clear, I’m not saying “perpetrate” or try to be something you are not. I am saying take pride in your appearance. I remember my father saying; “It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your pockets, you need to look like you have a million dollars somewhere.” Wiser words have never spoken.

The final piece to the puzzle is your words. There is so much power in the spoken word. Your words are so powerful in fact that they can cut deeply and heal a broken heart simultaneously. What you say to yourself or your self-talk dictates how you interact and impact the world around you. Your words are powerful. Speak confidence into your life. Do not wait for others to compliment you, walk in the understanding that all God’s children are beautiful. What you show to the world is exactly what you can expect to attract back into your life.

Understand that you are in complete control and start acting like it.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

Morning Cup of Joe – Don’t Take It Personally

No matter how hard you try, it is difficult to force anyone to do something they don’t want to do. Moreover, it is even more difficult to get someone to see something they don’t want to see. It matters not your intentions, good or bad, if someone is not ready to receive something they simply will not. Trying to force your point of view is like a quarterback throwing to a receiver that is either not open, heavily covered or simply ran the wrong route. In either case, they won’t be able to receive or catch it no matter how accurate your throw or message is.

Most of us want nothing but the best for our friends, family and loved ones but they have to want the same thing for themselves. Conversely, you must be willing to trust the eyes of others. What I mean is simply that your eyes point outwardly and you are able to observe things that others may not be able to see or may simply have a different perspective on. Similarly, you must be opened to accepting constructive criticism and be willing to embrace opportunities of improvement.

The impasse occurs when one does not accept responsibility for their actions and are not willing to change based on the observation of others. Don’t join that group and if you already are a card carrying member, cancel your membership. You are going nowhere fast. I am more fortunate than most to have learned a long time ago to not take anything personally, especially constructive criticism. If someone offers you advice, receive it, accept it and thank them. Thank them because they think enough of you to offer opportunities where you can be better. Most people don’t have folks like that in their lives who care enough to offer them opportunities for improvement. Embrace it.

A major sign of maturity is being able to accept constructive criticism and not be offended when it is offered. Don’t take it personally.

To The Top!
Joe Paul

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