Monday, November 21, 2005

On Success

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." - Earl Nightingale

Earl Nightingale’s words of wisdom still ring true to this day when he said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Sounds pretty straightforward, but how many people really understand what that means, let alone practice it on a daily basis?

Obtaining a car, or a house, might be nice goals to have, but they’re hardly what I call a ‘worthy ideal.’ It’s not going to get you up in the mornings, inspired to take massive action and expend a tremendous conscious effort towards a cause, a dream, that’s larger than life.

Every successful person I know decided at one point who they ideally wanted to be and how they wanted to live their life, while also realizing where they were really at, and then decided to bridge that gap until they were living their dreams.

They bridged the gap by consistently focusing on their dream, feeling it with strong emotion being realized already, and taking purposeful actions that moved them closer to their dream, every single day. And that, my friends, is ‘the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.’ We attract in life what we consistently focus on, act on, and feel through spaced repetition. If you do that, you will be successful.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the author, poet, philosopher, naturalist, and educator, had this to say about ‘the progressive realization of a worthy ideal’:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success in uncommon hours."

Take out a blank sheet of paper, and write down on one page, the person you want to become ten years from now and how you want to be perceived, and then begin living that now. In other words, every day, just be and act like that person. And you will, as Thoreau once said, ‘meet with success in uncommon hours.’

Hero Soul
Sharif Khan is a professional speaker, freelance writer, coach, and author of Psychology of the Hero Soul, an inspirational book on awakening the Hero within and developing people’s leadership potential. Based on over ten years research in human development and leadership, Khan provides inspirational keynotes and leadership development workshops that empower audiences to unleash their inner-hero potential for higher success. With several years of writing and publishing experience, Khan also helps companies develop empowering content through his copywriting services. For more information visit To reach Sharif directly call (416)417-1259 or email:

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Attitude of Gratitude

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~ Johannes A. Gaertner ~

Johannes A. Gaertner (1912 - 1996) was born in Berlin and settled in the United States in 1946. He was a well-known professor of art history, and a much-admired poet and a theologian.

I had the opportunity and good fortune to help volunteer, locally, for Anthony Robbin’s Basket Brigade Food Drive. It was an awesome experience helping to supply food and delivering to needy families. As a result, we were able to feed over 87 families in our local neighborhood. What a great feeling!

On one of my food delivery trips, I was invited in for tea and cookies by a Pakistani woman and her family. She was a charming, soft-spoken woman, and was delighted when my co-volunteer and I dropped by with a large box of food and goodies.

I was humbled when I learned that she had a PhD in food science, but couldn’t find any work for years because she wasn’t a Canadian Citizen, and her extensive credentials were not recognized here, along with the race and language barrier she had to deal with. (You just never can know what despair really looks like until you meet face to face. We often have a certain ‘image’ in our minds of what it looks like which is not accurate). Despite her sorrows, she was very grateful we came, and even offered to volunteer.

It was a wonderful gesture on her part and a learning lesson for me. You know, I heard Bob Proctor mention somewhere that “Gratitude keeps you connected to your source of supply.” It’s so true! I couldn’t help but feeling grateful for all that I have. I am grateful for being a Canadian Citizen living in a country of abundance and freedom, with a great and affordable education and health system, doing what I love doing!

The highlight of the evening was getting together with all the volunteers for a potluck dinner and sharing our experiences and giving thanks. We shared lots of heart to heart hugs too, which is proven in research for developing happier, healthier, well-adjusted human beings.
Another highlight was getting a chance to pet the organizer’s chocolate brown and white bunny rabbit, Mocha. Although I love chocolate and Mocha coffee, this is one instance I was grateful that it didn’t turn into a “Fatal Attraction” of some sorts.

When you feel grateful for all that you have and all that you do, you can’t help but feel connected to the Divine, and the sense of fulfillment and joy that comes as a result.

Write down a statement for all the blessings in your life and everything you feel grateful for in your life. Then make a habit of reading your statement out loud every morning for 90 days, and watch the results. You will feel more connected to the infinite potential within you and begin attracting more good things in your life.

Hero Soul
Sharif Khan is a professional speaker, freelance writer, coach, and author of Psychology of the Hero Soul, an inspirational book on awakening the Hero within and developing people’s leadership potential. Based on over ten years research in human development and leadership, Khan provides inspirational keynotes and leadership development workshops that empower audiences to unleash their inner-hero potential for higher success. With several years of writing and publishing experience, Khan also helps companies develop empowering content through his copywriting services. For more information visit To reach Sharif directly call (416)417-1259 or email:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Success Tips

From time to time, I try out ‘success ideas’ to test their validity or come up with intriguing insights that I just can’t wait to share with my loyal readers. Well, this is one of those moments! Actually, I have TWO quick tips for you:

Tip # 1
You cannot receive more, if your cup is full. In order to receive new inspiration and ideas, one must clear their mind of clutter through meditation. This applies to physical space as well.

My closet was full of old clothes I wasn’t wearing but was still hanging on to for both sentimental reasons as well as not wanting to pay for new clothes. I saw it as wasteful to buy new clothes when I had plenty of perfectly good clothing. Only problem was that certain clothing didn’t suit me anymore and I didn’t like the way they looked on me.

To make a long story short, I emptied my closet of ALL clothing that I hadn’t worn in a long time and donated it to a used clothing facility and said to myself, “I am making room for the universe to provide me with quality clothing I will enjoy wearing and look good in.” Well, within a month, I was talking to a good friend, and out of the blue, he just asked me what size I wore. Turns out my size was close to his. Next thing I know, I’m carrying out a huge bundle of quality clothing from his house (Armani’s, Polo’s, Christian Dior’s, suits, ties, pants, shirts, you name it!). They were used clothing, but in mint condition and most had just been dry cleaned! He just gavethem to me for no particular reason!!

You can do the same: get rid of old clothes in your closet, get rid of that ripped sofa you’ve had for years, or those lack-luster drapes that have been annoying you for so long. GET RID OF THEM NOW! Preferably give them away or donate them. Then just sit back and allow the universe to provide better stuff. In the process, you will raise your standard of living. [Don’t know where I got this idea originally, but I heard it a second time listening to one of Bob Proctor’s Freedom Series tapes and applied it immediately!]

Tip # 2
Take a hundred dollar bill or greater and go ‘abundance shopping.’ For at least a couple hours or half a day, go around the mall or your favorite shopping spot, looking at stuff that you really like. Pick out items and make Mental purchases, saying to yourself, “Ooooh, I really like that! I can get that with my hundred bucks. Oh this is really nice too, I can buy that, I have more than enough! I love that elegant Schaeffer pen, I can get that too!”

Just walk around making thousands and thousands of dollars worth of ‘emotional purchases’ with that one hundred dollar bill. What you are doing is creating the psychology of abundance instead of lack thoughts such as: “Gotta pay those bills. That’s too expensive. Can’t afford that right now.” (Which your mind accepts as your reality and perpetuates lack).

When I first tried this, within a matter of a few weeks, sometimes days, I started getting business deals or money coming to me from unexpected places. A person who owed me money who hadn’t paid in a while and who I didn’t expect to ever pay, called me out of the blue and said he had my money! It’s great! Give it a try. [I got this idea from reading “Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting: The Astonishing Power of Feelings” by Lynn Grabhorn]

Sharif Khan (; is a freelance copywriter, motivational speaker, and coach. He is author of, Psychology of the Hero Soul, an inspirational book on awakening the hero within and developing people’s leadership potential. Khan provides inspirational keynotes and leadership seminars to help people live heroically.To contact Sharif directly, call (416) 417-1259.

Copyright © 2005, by Sharif Khan. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Interview with Stephen Covey

Interview by Sharif Khan

“The call and need of a new era is for greatness. It’s for fulfillment,
passionate execution and significant contribution.”
- Stephen R. Covey, from The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to

Making a rare public appearance in Toronto at the Mississauga Living
Arts Centre, world-respected leadership authority and author of the
international bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, named
the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century,
Dr. Stephen R. Covey spoke on his latest book, The 8th Habit: From
Effectiveness to Greatness to a packed audience.

Having taught principle-centered leadership for over four decades,
this living legend and world icon, with his quiet energy and grace, epitomized a call to greatness and earned the respect of the audience -- standing as a grandfather figure for unleashing human potential in many generations.

A hero to millions, Dr. Covey is known the world over for his landmark work
around helping people take profound ideas, philosophies, and principles and
distilling them into easy-to-use daily habits that anyone can apply. In his
inspirational presentation at the Living Arts Centre, he conveyed simple yet
very powerful gems of wisdom that I found practical and useful. For example,
if you want your children to develop a love of learning and never have to rag on them again for not doing their homework and not getting better grades, simply ask them when they return from school, “Teach me what you’ve learned today.” By using this one simple habit, Covey claims he’s never had a problem encouraging his children to learn because teaching is the best way to learn.

Another gem he talked about is the habit of seeking to understand before being understood through empathic listening. In the audience of over 800 people, he asked how many people had any formal training on listening; only 13 hands went up revealing just how ego-centric of a me-me-me culture we live in. Covey related how many Native Indian tribes use what’s called the Talking Stick which is used in all meetings where the person holding the Talking Stick is the only person allowed to speak until he or she feels understood; when the possessor of the Talking Stick feels completely understood, then, and only then, is the Talking Stick passed on to the next person. This creates an incredible understanding and synergy among the team. Every business would do well to have a Talking Stick!

Covey then went on to the crux of his message which is the 8th Habit of
becoming an island of excellence in a sea of mediocrity by finding one’s voice and helping others to find theirs. According to Covey, the main problem is that businesses are still trapped in the old paradigm of Industrial Age thinking even though we’re well into the Knowledge
Worker Age.

What’s required is a new paradigm he calls the “whole body
paradigm” of integrating body, mind, heart, and spirit which he respectively
equates to the principles of discipline, vision, passion, and conscience. The Industrial Age is still very much focused on the body (things, systems, structures, procedures, efficiency, bottom-line). But Covey estimates that approximately 80 percent of all the value added to goods and services now comes from knowledge work versus things. Twenty years ago that number
was the inverse: only 20 percent.

So the key is not behavior – it’s the map. The key is the accuracy of the map. Once paradigm shifts the behavior will also shift. Covey clearly illustrated this point by asking everyone to close their eyes and point “North.” When he asked us to open our eyes and look around, I noticed everyone was pointing in different directions! In a similar vein, the majority of organizations have their people pointing in different directions; sighting a recent Harris Poll, Covey states that “only 37 percent of workers say they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.” No one knows where true “North” is. There is no moral compass, no conscience, no guiding spirit.

Part of the solution, according to Covey, is to have a transcendent goal, what he calls a WIG or Wildly Important Goal, that serves a greater purpose. Only once this goal is clearly communicated to everyone in an organization can quantum improvements begin to happen in the workplace.

Here is my interview with Dr. Covey revealing his latest insights from his most recent book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness:

What sacrifices have you made to be where you are today?

I have worked very hard to dedicate my personal and professional life to
principle-centered living. I am driven by a passion and conscience to spread
understanding for principles and how to apply them to reach greatness. To that extent, there is no sacrifice – only a passionate, relentless commitment to my work, family, community and church to make a lasting difference.

What in your opinion is the most important attribute of a leader and why?

I believe the most important attribute for a leader is being principle-centered. Centering on principles that are universal and timeless provides a foundation and compass to guide every decision and every act. I’ve based my life’s work on promoting principles and teaching the power that resides in principle-centered leadership. Principles are not my invention; they are self-evident and are found throughout the world. If you look at all enduring philosophies, religions and thoughts, you will find principles such as integrity, compassion, trust, honesty, accountability and others at their core. I simply translated these principles into a framework of habits, which when followed with consistency and frequency transforms one’s character and allows one to earn the moral authority necessary for enduring leadership.

I must also clarify the definition of leadership, which is sadly and narrowly defined as position, title, status or rank. This is formal authority and not necessarily leadership. Through years of study, teaching and working with people all over the world, from all walks of life, I have determined that leadership is: Communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves. It is the influence we have with others to help them discover their own voice, to find their own purpose, to make their unique contribution, and to release their potential, that truly defines leadership. Thus, leadership extends to the many personal and professional roles we play – as workers, parents, children, teachers, students, swamis, you name it – and the choice we make to live by principles to help others find their voice.

In your book, 8th Habit, you talk about finding one’s voice and developing one’s “unique personal significance.” How does one begin doing that?

To achieve greater heights each person must be challenged to find their
voice – their unique personal significance and purposeful meaning – and help
others to find theirs. Voice lies at the nexus of talent, passion, need and
conscience. When anyone engages in work that taps into their talent and fuels their passion – that rises out of a great need in the world that they feel drawn by conscience to meet – therein lies their voice in life. The 8th Habit is all about how to find your voice and help others to find theirs.

What leader do you really admire and why?

One immediate leader who comes to mind is Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank. His story is one that illustrates the path to finding one’s voice and helping others find theirs. Muhammad saw a need, felt his conscience move him to try and fill that need and applied his talents and passion to fill it. In the process, he found his voice and helped others to find theirs.

Muhammad wanted to help his impoverished fellow citizens in Bangladesh. He met a woman who made bamboo stools only to make two U.S. pennies each day. He inquired about her work and found that the woman had no money to buy the necessary bamboo, so she was forced to borrow money from a trader on condition that she sell him her finished product at a price he dictated. This poor woman in essence was held hostage by this trader.

This woman was not alone, there was an entire village of 42 hard working people working in unbearable circumstances and Muhammad calculated that it only required $27 U.S. dollars to help them out. He immediately gave the money to the people and told them it was a loan to be re-paid when they were able.

Muhammad even went further to ask the local bank to loan these villagers
additional money and offered himself as a guarantor. Much to the skepticism
and surprise of the bankers, the villagers paid every penny back on several

Muhammad eventually expanded this loan program by creating his own
micro-credit lending institution called the Grameen Bank, so he could help
numerous villages.

Grameen Bank now works with more than 46,000 villages giving micro-loans,
lending approximately half a billion dollars a year to empower the poor
(96% of whom are women) to produce and sell their goods and build housing.
So far, the bank has assisted 3.7 million people. The micro-credit movement has now spread throughout the world.

What advice would you give youth who will become future leaders of tomorrow?

In my 8th Habit book I share the idea that everyone chooses one of two roads
in life, whether you’re older or younger, man or woman, rich or poor. The most traveled road is the one that takes us to mediocrity and the other less traveled road takes us to greatness and meaning. The first road limits us and prevents us from realizing our full potential. This road is often the quick-fix or short-cut approach to life. It often lures us to it when we don’t take accountability for ourselves or see ourselves as victims. My advice to the youth is to avoid the road of mediocrity. It’s probably hard for them to see into the long-term, but if they will try to see themselves as human beings with vast potential, and see that next to life itself their greatest gift is choice – they can choose their responses to whatever comes to them in life, and take responsibility for their choices, their behaviors, their feelings and choose to create their future.

My son, Sean, wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens to help
[young people] become their best selves. He speaks wonderfully to the youth
(much better than I), and I would recommend his book to anyone wanting to
start good habits at a young age.

Sharif Khan (; is a professional speaker, freelance writer, coach, and author of “Psychology of the Hero Soul,” an inspirational book on awakening the hero within and developing people’s leadership potential. To contact Sharif directly, call: (416) 417-1259.

Copyright © 2005 by Sharif Khan