Losing stokes the fire of winners…

“Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

Bill Gates

I don’t like to lose. Heck, no one likes to lose. Losing isn’t fun, pretty or enjoyable. Losing sucks. Period. However, nothing stokes the fire of determination and focus like a loss. Nothing teaches a more powerful lesson than losing, if you choose to learn. That’s the key right, you have to choose to learn. You have to accept the loss, and your part in it, so that you can you learn and build on it so you can win the next time.

I would strongly argue that losing is more important to growth and development than winning. Losing is the platform that wins are built from. If you don’t know how to lose, how can you learn to win?

We must work as hard as we can to win and build success. When the losses come, and they will, then we have to embrace the suck, figure out why, and get up and try again.

Will I ever enjoy losing? Absolutely not. I hate losing with a passion. But do I appreciate every loss I have ever had? Damn right. Those losses, and the scars that they created, are the burning fire that powers all future successes. Losing is going to happen to all of us. Being a loser is a choice that we individually make….

Wisdom is applied knowledge…

“It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” 

Oliver Wendall Holmes

The older and more experienced I have become in life the more I have learned to value great questions. Great statements can be profound but they don’t create the opportunity for change and growth the same way a great question does.

What I love about a really great question is that it gives one the opportunity to listen and gain both knowledge and perspective. If you think about it, if you focus on gaining knowledge you can just have more information. If you listen and ask questions you can gain both knowledge and wisdom. With wisdom being the distinct ability to apply the knowledge you have learned.

What are the right questions to ask that focus not just on gaining knowledge but on gaining wisdom?

Embrace discomfort…

“If a change doesn’t feel uncomfortable it’s probably not really a change.”

John Maxwell

I love the way this quote challenges how I think about change. How often do we truly seek to be uncomfortable? It is easy to talk about change and the need for change but are we truly embracing the the opportunity to be uncomfortable? Changing ourselves and our behaviors can be hard and I have found that often people change just enough to check the box saying that they did it. When this happens it doesn’t take much to slip back into old habits. It doesn’t take much for the change that was being made to just slip away.

How uncomfortable do you have to be with a current situation or circumstance to make the challenge and discomfort of change a better alternative? How can you lower this hurdle rate to smash through barriers and implement true change faster and with more vigor and therefore prevent yourself from slipping back into old habits or behaviors?

In a world of constant change and disruption then a feeling of discomfort is the new normal. We must be continually challenging ourselves to grow and evolve and pushing through the natural tendencies we have to maintain the status quo. We must be comfortable being continually uncomfortable if we truly want to grow.

Dream or a nightmare?

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Jerry Rice

What is it that you know you should do, but haven’t yet had the discipline to accomplish? Is it being healthier? Learning a new skill? Reading a certain book? Building a stronger relationship with God? Setting aside time to focus on giving to others? The list can go on and on for each of us.

So many people have dreams but don’t have the self-discipline and determination to make those dreams come true. Actually I think living this way might be more aptly labeled as a nightmare… If you want something, do the work today. That is what will make the dreams come true. You can either capture your dreams or be held captive by the nightmare of regret.

We can all choose if we want to be a victim or a victor in life…

Encourage change…

“A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach her potential.”

John C. Maxwell

Sometimes it is the simplest things at just the right moments that make all the difference in the world. I still have a handwritten note that I received over 20 years ago from the SVP who was responsible for the division I worked in. The fact that he took the time to notice and acknowledge me made all the difference in the world to a very green and naive leader who was learning what real leadership was all about. That note has stayed with me for many moves and transitions and is one that I treasure not for what it says but for what it represents. True appreciation and encouragement from one human being to another expressed in a manner that was genuine and humble. That one simple thing has had a profound impact on me and my life.

I am sure that all of us have those great “encouragement moments” that created a marked impact on our lives. But what if they weren’t there? What if instead of encouragement we had received negative reinforcement or worst yet, nothing at all? The world would be a very different place.

We are all going to fail multiple times in our lives. Heck, we are going to fail daily if we are truly trying hard enough. Sometimes all we need is one person who recognizes not who we are today, but who we have to potential to become and helps us to see that potential. That is what I received 20+ years ago via a simple handwritten note.

Invest daily…

“Doing the right thing daily, compounds over time.”

John Maxwell

The impact and importance of this goes far beyond what you can see right in front of you today.

It shows up in the example you set for others, the things they then say or do, the decisions they make. The example you set for your children and the men and women they grow up to become. Doing the right thing daily has the opportunity to be a catalyst well beyond your time here on this earth. You might never recognize the return on the investment yourself, but the legacy you leave might be recognized for generations.

Choosing not to do the right thing also compounds daily… But it is a negative value proposition…

Do you choose to impact or be impacted?

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Charles Swindoll

There really isn’t much to add to this quote. It says a lot and truly it says it all when it comes to the power of attitude.

I will say that I am always amazed at how much impact another persons attitude can have on our own, if we choose to let it. That can be both positive and negative. A positive attitude is contagious and a negative attitude is cancerous. However allowing another person to impact us is a choice. Both for good and for bad.

When you woke up this morning what was your attitude choice for the day? Is it intentional or accidental? Does someone else’s choices frame your day or do you make the choice? Do you choose to impact others or be impacted by others?

Patience to grow…

“I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.”

John Wooden

It is cliche but there is so much truth to the old saying “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

Putting another person’s life and interests ahead of your own selfish pursuits is the mark of great leadership to me. Now, please don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean that you are putting another persons needs ahead of the organization. You are putting them ahead of YOU. The greatest leaders I have ever had the honor of serving under never compromised the needs of the organization or it’s shareholders for their personal gains or needs.

When I think of the patience part of this quote I am reminded of the story of the old farmer planting acorns. His grandson was with him and asked, “Grandfather, how long will it take these acorns to grow into trees like those around your house?” Grandfather thought for moment and then said, “son these acorns will grow to be trees like those in sixty to seventy years if they are cared for and protected while they are growing.” The grandson reflected quietly and then asked, “but that means you will never seen them becpme trees, so why are you planting them?” The Grandfather smiled and said, “Son, I asked my grandfather the exact same question when I helped him to plant the acorns around his house…”

Sometimes what we build isn’t for our enjoyment, but is for the betterment of the world around us and for the people coming after us. A legacy of a strong organization that cares for its people is one that will carry through multiple generations.

Interested vs. Interesting…

“A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights.”

Brian Tracy

I once hear Jim Collins speak and he was relaying a lesson taught to him by Peter Drucker. The essence of the lesson was that if one wanted to become truly impactful as a leader they must change their focus and truly be more “interested than interesting.” The key here was that when one is focused on being interesting they are about themselves and what they want to say and do. When they are interested they are focused on the other person and how they can help them.

The next part of the lesson was on how to accomplish being “interested vs. interesting.”  If one wants to convey interest, then one must change the questions to statements ratio. Ask three, four, five times or more questions for every statement one makes. That conveys focus on the situation and the other person, not that you are only interested in being heard…

It has been at least 10 years since I first heard this and it has really stuck with me over the years. It is an area that I continually have to remind myself to work on and really focus on enhancing my questions to statements ratio. (I wrote a little bit about this (at least tangentially) back in August in this post.)

Take stock of your leadership words today. Are you asking more questions or making more statements? Are you focused on being interested or on being interesting? One side is about others, the other side is all about you…

Time to set sail…

“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

John A. Shedd

What does it take to get you to break free from the harbor? We humans aren’t built to simply be comfortable and exist. We are all high performance machines that are meant to explore, contribute and serve. Yet, we all get comfortable with being safe, with staying close to home, not venturing out onto the blue water. What causes this? Is it fear of the unknown? Fear of change?

We aren’t built to be safely tucked into the harbor never seeking to explore or grow. If you feel stuck in a rut of safety ask yourself what small thing you can do to break free and create a moment of lasting change. Go, or you will look back later in life and wish that you had…

Extraordinary perseverance…

“With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”

Thomas Fowell Buxton

I love the “ordinary talent” part of this quote. Ordinary talent combined with extreme drive, grit and determination; that is what gets it done. I have known people with extraordinary talent that didn’t have the drive and the perseverance and it is heartbreaking to see that kind of talent go to waste.

You can’t teach perseverance. It comes through struggles, failures, getting the crap knocked out of you, and getting back up again. It is an attitude by which you live your life, not content with simply sitting back and being content with what you have.

I’ll take ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance every day of the week…

Listen to learn…

“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.”

Margaret J. Wheatley

Why is such a simple act so hard to do? Heck, simply being present is hard to do sometimes. I find it so fascinating to observe the difference in my mindset when I am listening to learn versus listening to respond. Listening to learn has me leaning forward and seeking information as though I was in the desert desperate for water. Listening to respond has me leaning back just waiting for the opportunity to jump in with what I want to say.

I much prefer the attitude of listening to learn. It is a key area of focus for me and I have found that when one shuts down their “auto response” mechanism the things you can pick up are truly remarkable…

What else needs to be said?

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

Henry J. Kaiser

Hard work speaks for itself through the results that are generated. It is amazing how many folks want to talk about the activities they are engaged in versus the results they are seeking to achieve. All the activities and actions don’t matter if they results aren’t there.

If you are focused on the right things and then just let the results speak for themselves what else really needs to be said?

Pursue excellence today…

“Excellence must be pursued, it must be wooed with all of one’s might and every bit of effort that we have each day there’s a new encounter, each week is a new challenge.”

Vince Lombardi

Every morning is a new opportunity to get back up, to attack the world, to strive for excellence with all one’s might and effort. That’s what it takes to win. That’s what it takes to go beyond where we are today and get to where we want to be.

Approaching each day as a new challenge, a new opportunity to strive for excellence allows one to leave whatever happened yesterday, whether it was a success or not, in the past. Excellence is ahead of us and achieving it depends on what we do right now.

What are you going to do today to advance towards excellence? This is not a list of ALL the things you feel you need to do. What is the one thing that you can do differently and WILL DO today?

Surrender in order to learn…

“Earn the right to be heard by listening to others. Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it.”

John Maxwell

When I read this quote I immediately thought of the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I haven’t read this book in a number of years but it has long been one of my favorites. Habit #5 from the book is “Seek first to understand, then be understood” and it is probably one of my absolute favorites. I know that I use this phrase all the time when communicating with others about the importance of digging deep and trying to understand any situation.

I think the same principle either from that habit or from this quote applies when trying to understand oneself and our behavior. What are the deep questions that you ask yourself in challenging situations or even when you are just trying to grow and learn? How do you slow down to ensure that you are really thinking the right things through?

There is a key thought outlined in the quote above that is so important and bears further rumination. “Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it.”  I think that is the aspect that so many folks, most certainly including myself, miss out on. We are listening (or at least we tell ourselves we are) but we are listening to find fault, or to prepare our side of the argument. Research shows that most people are simply listening to respond, not understand, and certainly not with judgment. How do you ensure that you have suspended judgment so that you can truly understand?

Maybe it is as simple as this. To understand, to truly understand without making judgments, one must surrender the need the be right. Much easier said than done of course however think through how liberating that could be when really getting deep into a topic or situation. I believe doing that is what enables the first part of this quote to happen. If you do this well, you earn the right to be heard…

The difference you make is in the details…

“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”

Charles Swindoll

What matters more, the really big things or the little details? When I think of a great customer experience it is rarely the over the top stuff that makes the big impression. Instead it is the tiny details that create unexpected delight and moments of joy.

When a team member at Chick Fil A says “my pleasure” it doesn’t make the sandwich taste any better, but the tiny detail of conveying a servants promise in a genuine manner flavors the entire experience. When a server at a restaurant notices that I drink several cups of coffee through my breakfast and unexpectedly delivers a “to go” cup of hot coffee when they bring me the check they are delivering more value than expected and demonstrating that they are paying attention to what matters to me, not themselves.

The little details that happen all around us every day are the things that make the biggest difference when we slow down long enough to notice them. They are the things that make the biggest difference to others when we slow down long enough to deliver on them…

Think about your day yesterday, what were the small details that created the great experiences for you? What small things did you do for others that had the potential to elevate the experience from simply good too great? Even if those things you did weren’t noticed right away, or even at all, they matter. They matter for both the people you are doing them for, but perhaps even more importantly, they matter because it shows the degree of care and discipline you bring to your world and demonstrates the commitment you have to not simply being good but to being great.

Pay attention to the world today and the experiences that happen around you. What are the smallest details that impact you the most? What are the little things you are going to do that demonstrate your commitment to excellence?

Take inventory. Take notice. Pause to appreciate. Deliver your own greatness through the details.

First who…


“If I were a young coach today, I would be extremely careful in selecting assistants.”

John Wooden

The people that you serve with are a direct reflection, and an extension of, your choices about who you are, your character, and who you want to be in your leadership of self and others. Picking the right ones is critical for both short-term and long-term success.

My first, and probably most influential, leadership mentor was a retired full bird U.S. Army Colonel. When I was leaving that company for another role he shared with me some of the best leadership advice I have ever received. Specifically it was on the topic of hiring and selecting talent: “Dusty, no matter what, if I could pass along one bit of advice it would be this. Never, ever, delegate completely the hiring of key talent and leaders. Always be involved in the process and ensure that you get to talk with them, even if they won’t be working for you directly. It will make a huge difference over the long haul. You have to be responsible for the quality of the leaders in your organization since you will be accountable for their performance.”

I haven’t always done this perfectly but it has been a guiding principle for me almost my entire career. The quality of the work produced by the team is dependent on the quality of the leaders that are guiding them. Never ever shortchange the leadership selection process.

What are you doing today that will matter in the future?

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Ten years ago what were your dreams for the future? Did you achieve them? What future did you want to create? How did you make it happen? 2009 doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago, yet a lot has happened over the past ten years. Did those years build up to create what you expected and desired? How will it look over the next 10 years?

Was there anything you did today that will create the future you want in five years? Ten years? Sometimes it might be the big things, others just the small things but the focus has to be on doing the right things today that will be meaningful in the future that you want to create.

Focused vs. Busy…

“Never mistake activity for achievement.”

John Wooden

Busy. That seems to be the perpetual state of the world. Everyone is so very very busy. But what is being accomplished in all this busyness?

Sometimes it feels like we wear being busy as a badge of honor, that the more we have going on, the more important or worthy we are. Maybe this is just me. I know that I’m certainly guilty of this. People will ask me how I am doing, or how my weekend was and I catch myself saying “it was great, just busy” or “I’m good, just really busy right now.”

The real question is this. Are we busy doing the right things? Are the efforts we are putting in the right ones, or are they just the ones that take up our time? Are we achieving results that matter through focused effort, not just showing up and being busy?

Busy is a choice. It isn’t a bad choice, especially if you are focused on achieving your goals and impacting others. But if busy is the idol, the perpetual state of being, do you have time to look up and make sure that you are still going in the right direction?

I commit to this. When someone asks me how I am doing, I am taking the response of “busy” out of my lexicon entirely. If I can’t give a real and substantive answer, I’d be better off simply saying nothing.

The most important variables…

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

John Wooden

This is probably one of my favorite quotes. It states so clearly the danger of this world if you remove just two key variables. Humility and Gratitude. Without either you are going to go astray.

Why do you have your God given gifts and talents? Is it to serve others or serve yourself? If you have fame then how are you using that fame to serve others or impact the world? I would argue that if you aren’t using your gifts to serve then you are treading dangerously close to the definition of conceit.

The minute you believe you are better than someone else, that your life has more value or meaning than another person you have lost your way. My Dad used to tell me that “everyone puts their britches on the same way in the morning. No person is more important or deserves better treatment because of their role or wealth.”

How do you guard against conceit and selfishness?

Plant seeds through your actions…

“Your influence on people and situations comes from your ability to be a role model.” 

Capt. John Havlik

I know that I still have behaviors and actions that come from seeds planted over 20 years ago by significant role models and mentors in my life. Those individuals taught me things not through explicit words, but just through their daily actions. They demonstrated servant leadership through their actions and in turn have had a lifelong impact on me.

Who are the role models in your life that have inspired and motivated you? What was it that they did that made an impact on you? Have you taken any of those examples and built them into your life and actions? Your daily actions and examples are planting seeds that you might never see grow but could be incredibly impactful on the lives of others…

When to start? TODAY!

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.  Let us begin.”

Mother Teresa

How often do we spend our lives living in the past by lamenting what didn’t happen or trying to hold on to our previous accomplishments? Conversely, how much time do we spend living and thinking about the future and what we want or desire? I will admit that I am very guilty of the latter scenario, spending a lot of time and energy on what I think or want to happen. It is a constant battle to bring focus to what I need to do RIGHT NOW and put that same energy to use today.

Our supply of energy and time is finite. How we choose to invest it TODAY will create the future we want but only if we invest wisely. You have to start now. What is the very simple, finite, and clear thing you can start today that would impact the lives of others or yourself? Got it? Do it…

We choose our circumstances…

“We are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.”

Benjamin Disraeli

What are the choices that you will make today that will impact your circumstances tomorrow? Next week? Next year? Are you willing to decide or do you surrender that decision and let the world or others decide for you? Perhaps more importantly, when you see the need for change, the need to take action, do you make that decision with specific intent or do you sit idly by and let it pass, thinking perhaps that “I’ll deal with that later.”

We all have the opportunity to change and grow but to do so means that we have to be responsible and accountable for making the necessary decisions. Growth is a choice, not a requirement. Our circumstances reflect those choices. If you don’t like the circumstances you find yourself in, make different choices…

Others first…

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Philippians 2:3

This is counter to today’s “me focused” culture. Social media is the ultimate “look at me” tool and all to often we measure success in the number of “views or likes.” I would argue that in many ways success is measured through the lens of selfish ambition or conceit.

At the end of the day, when you reflect back and think about whether or not it was a successful day, what is the measure you use to determine success? Is it how much you accomplished? How much money you made? How many of your tasks you were able to complete?

Or is the measure of success reflected more in these questions. How many people were you able to help? What was the impact you made on another persons life? How many times you were able to smile at someone and say ‘thank you?’ Did you impact someone’s life for the positive today?

At the end of our lives success will not be measured in earthly things or our total number of “likes” but will be measured by the people that we impacted and the lives that we touched. To do so means that we have to put others ahead of ourselves and reach deep to find ways to serve. We must give ourselves away in order to truly have a successful life.

Fear not…

“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Corrie Ten Boom

Thinking things through is a great skill and one that will pay dividends when things don’t go exactly as you planned (and that will happen to all of us sooner or later). But worrying, obsessing, getting lost in the fear of “what if” or “why me” doesn’t help improve our chances of success.

There is a big difference between preparing and worrying. How we handle this difference makes such an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. Planning is proactive and positive. Worry is negative and emotionally draining.

There are so many good bible verses on worry but here are two of my absolute favorites that I go to whenever I cross the chasm between planning and worry.

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” Luke 12:25-26

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Can we guarantee success?

“Effort does not guarantee success, it only removes the guarantee of failure.”

Eric Davis

No matter how hard we work at something success is never guaranteed. All the hard effort in the world just might not be enough. But if you don’t put in the effort you are absolutely going to fail. I think the real key is how you answer this question:

If we don’t put in our best and maximum effort will we look back later and wonder if failure happened because we didn’t try hard enough?

Will it matter in 10 years?

“In ten years’ time will you look back at your past week and be glad how you chose to spend it?”

Freequill

Ten years is a long time! Think about that in regards to your choices for this coming week? Will they be impactful and matter ten years from now? If you wanted the week to matter what would have to be different? What about one year from now?

Don’t be the egg that doesn’t hatch…

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

C. S. Lewis

I’ve always been amazed by the fact that when a baby bird is breaking free from their egg that the struggle they are going through is critical to their growth and survival. In fact, if you help them they are likely to die because they haven’t been strengthened through the effort.

We are like that too right? We need the struggle and effort to be prepared for the world ahead. We need the crucible of change, hard effort, and struggle to grow. Otherwise we just stay the same and stagnate. I would argue that stagnation is the same as the egg that goes bad…

The sand in our shoes…

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Muhammad Ali

When I was younger I went hiking and had a pebble/sand in my boot but since I was in a hurry to get to the top of the mountain I didn’t want to take the time to stop and clean out my boots. I paid dearly for that decision as I naturally developed a huge blister and the entire hike down the mountain was painful.

A similar thing happened to me when I was racing Ironman Florida. I was on the run portion of the race and my shoes/socks were bothering me but I didn’t want to slow down and take the time to readjust and figure out how to get more comfortable. In that moment of the race it felt like those couple of minutes would be a real loss of momentum. Of course, as time went on the problem compounded and the last 5-6 miles of the race were really really painful.

How often does this apply in life? We are on a mission, headed towards our objective and there is “sand in our shoes?” We don’t want to slow down or take the time to take care of ourselves when that is exactly what we should do to ensure that we can achieve our longer term goals. It’s not the objective itself, it is the little things that add up that make achieving that objective possible.

NO!

“Every yes must be defended by a thousand no’s.”

Jeff Walker

Yesterday I wrote about focusing on the important, not just the urgent. It made me think about the discipline required to say “no” to all the things that invariably come up in life that will then allow you to focus on the really important things. If you don’t say “no” then you will always be a slave to everyone else’s priorities and not putting the focus on those things that you have said are most important.

I will fully admit that this is an area where I have to be constantly diligent and focused or I will go astray. One tactic I have found that really helps me is taking my objectives and breaking them down in to weekly focus areas and then daily key priorities. Writing those down every morning ensures that I stay on point (or at the very least have a constant reminder throughout the day).

Bottom line. If you want to say yes to the really important stuff you have to say no to all the things that will get in the way.

Tyranny of the urgent and unimportant…

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

Stephen R. Covey

What gets in the way of doing the important things in your life, your work? Having a goal, a set of goals, just isn’t enough. You have to intentionally set aside the time to ensure that you aren’t being distracted by all the stuff that comes up that is urgent and demands to be done “right now.” Those urgent things will bog you down and take over your life if you aren’t really really careful and intentional about how you spend your time and energy.

One of those urgent things for me that gets in the way of what is truly important is answering and managing email. There can be just so much of it coming at me in a given day and sometimes it is hard to keep up. About four months ago I found an app that allows me to “pause” my inbox and only receive email a few times a day unless it means a certain set of criteria (from certain people or with certain keywords). This has been a game changer for me because it allows me to control my time and schedule when I am going to read and respond to email. It prevents the urgent (whether real or perceived) from taking time from what is truly important.

What can you do to find the balance between the tyranny of the urgent and the truly most important things? Any successes you can share?

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