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Every Friday is Wisdom Friday.  It’s just a way for me to share with my readers the little gems of life that I’ve learned either during the week or living life in general.

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this — it may have been some wise words uttered by one of my mentors or a phrase I picked up from reading leadership books or I came up with it all by myself.  “This” refers to always starting a project (however large or small) by knowing what the end goal is.

I didn’t always know that little nugget of wisdom, and for a while when I did know about it, I didn’t always practice it.  The result of my youthful mistake was occasionally I end up with the desirable results, but more often than not, I didn’t get what I wanted.

Why is starting with the end in mind a good thing?  More than anything else, it anchors and provides you with the destination of your journey (yes, projects are like journeys).  Just like having a clear destination helps you to be a more effective driver, having a destination for your project guides you in the path towards completion.

Starting with the end in mind also helps by providing concrete and sometimes vivid goals that come in handy in times of trial and tribulation. For example, it’s much easier to tackle the hills during a marathon when the finish line is within sight.

So try it — one project at a time if you aren’t used to the idea, and please share how this habit changed your life.

Bill Clinton is said to have plenty of it; as does Steve Jobs. Bill Gates, on the other hand, not so much. Charisma is the theme of this post — what is it? And can we all learn to exude some/more of it?

The best definition I’ve encountered define Charisma as, “The ability to inspire enthusiasm, interest, or affection in others by means of personal charm, influence.”  Notice the emphasis is on one’s ability to exude positive effect on others.  I think as a society (the US society), we are too self-centered to pay attention to or care about others.  That explains why all of the leadership skill sets, “charisma” remains the most mysterious.  In fact, it often appears as if it were an invisible energy with which one was born.  I don’t deny some people are born more charismatic than others, but we can all learn to be a bit more charismatic by paying more attention to others.

The way I see it, there are two ways to exude charisma:

1. See others for their potential and believe in what they can achieve. Too often, we use history to judge one’s character. While there is nothing wrong with that, we must also realize that kind of approach only sees one side of the coin. If we want to exude charisma, we must not only see people as they are but also as they could be.

2. Inspire hope. Charisma is about creating the belief that tomorrow will be brighter than today, that the future is full of amazing opportunities and unrealized dreams.

Combine #1 and #2, and you get a group of people who associate you with the feeling of self-empowerment. When they believe in themselves because you believe in them, that’s charisma.

A wise man once told me, “A leader instills confidence; a good one drives your confidence in him whereas a charismatic one bestows his confidence in you.” If you are trying to build a brand/following/empire, which kind of leader would you rather be?