Help make way…

“The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve always been impressed by people who have a clear purpose, a clear vision about where they are going and what they want to achieve in life. Those individuals are the ones that change their worlds, and the worlds of others around them.

I would argue that “making way” is only one of the options that you might have available when one of these people crosses your path.

Another option might be to understand their vision, and if aligned, help make it a reality. The world makes way for people who know where they are going….

Just imagine…

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”

John Lennon

Just imagine the power if EVERY person were to say “no matter what anyone else says or does, I will be a disciple of peace and forgiveness.”

Just imagine the IMPACT if every person lived outwardly with these actions as a demonstration of their beliefs.

Just imagine… This truly sounds like heaven…

What do you see?

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

J. Krishnamurti

Imagine how much more one could learn if everything you observed could be assessed without bias or emotional reaction?

Think of how many times you have observed something and been wrong because of your own biases or false realities?

Sometimes it would be really nice to learn for the sake of learning, without introducing bias or false realities.

Fortunately we all have that opportunity, we just have to suspend our need to be right…

Dream bigger…

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!”

Anthony Robbins

I can’t remember an individual year where I looked back and was satisfied that I had achieved all my goals and all that was possible for a given year. But when looking back over a decade, now that’s a different story. Over a 10-year period so much will have changed and there are so many things that perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to dream big enough about 10 years ago.

That’s the lesson for me. Dream bigger than you think possible when looking over a 10-year horizon. When you look back, you will realize you didn’t dream big enough…

Asked and answered…

“Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.”

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.

How much of your effort and energy is devoted to doing for your teammates versus doing for yourself? How often do you ask how you can help, and then deliver on the ask?

If you can’t remember the last time you did this, you aren’t doing it enough…

The wizard behind the curtain…

“It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.”

Vince Lombardi


Sometimes it seems to be that the best talkers are the ones who get the most accolades. But behind all the talk, their has to be action, and action is what we should really be celebrating.

Sometimes it’s the wizard behind the curtain that really matters because that’s where the action is…

Just keep swimming…

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

Bill Bradley

Ambition can have a negative connotation linked to ego or selfishness but I prefer to think of it in the context of having a strong goal or a pervasive vision.

Persistence is…

Just one more time…

Don’t quit now, you’re almost there…

No matter what, just one foot in front of the other…

Tomorrow is a brand new day and another day closer to your goal…

No matter how good your vision is you have to have persistence in order to achieve your goals…

Doing what is right…

“Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.”

William E. Gladstone

Has “being right” ever been more important to you than “doing right?” Whenever I find myself overly passionate about a particular topic or position I ask myself these three questions.

  1. What information would need to change in order for my opinion or position to change?
  2. If I am wrong, will any of my behaviors make that harder to accept than is necessary?
  3. Have I sought counsel or perspective from a person that I trust?

It always amazes me how quickly my “passion” for something might be cooled when I take the time to step back and ask myself these questions.

Some gave all…

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Every freedom we have. Every right that we are guaranteed. Every liberty that we take for granted. All paid for by the blood of patriots and heroes.

It is too easy to complain about what we don’t have when instead we should be expressing constant gratitude for those that gave us all the freedoms we enjoy…

‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ‘ John 15:13

Count your blessings…

“If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”

John R. Wooden

How much energy do we spend in gratitude versus being upset about how something didn’t work out exactly the way we wanted? We have so much to be thankful for but it is far to easy overlook all our blessings and focus instead on what we don’t have.

Just for tomorrow, set aside some time to be intentional with how you recognize your blessings. I can’t think of a better way to spend Memorial Day…

Fear stopping….

“I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back…”

Erica Jong

Fear is only a barrier if it stops you in your tracks. Fear can be an incredible motivator and an inspiration for change, if you let it. The key is to know that on the other side of fear is growth and opportunity. Just keep moving, never stop moving.

“Have to” vs. “Get to”

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”

Duke Ellington

It is amazing how a simple perception shift can change your entire perspective about something. Do you view life’s challenges as problems you HAVE to deal with? Perhaps a better way to frame it is just as this quote is written. You GET the opportunity to do your best and improve your capabilities. This is a subtle yet powerful difference and can change your entire outlook on whatever lies before you.

Generosity begets generosity…

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Jackie Robinson

How would the impact of your life change if were to measure your success based on answering these two questions every single day? Ask and answer question #1 first thing in the morning and question #2 just before bed every night.

#1 – How will I impact the life of another person intentionally and positively today?

#2 – How did I specifically add value to the life of another person today?

‘“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”’ Luke 6:38 MSG

Who knows, perhaps the life you impact the most will be your own…

What’s important?

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.”

Paulo Coelho

Perhaps instead of viewing everything happening at once as being overwhelming and overpowering we should instead think of it as incredibly clarifying. There is nothing like being overwhelmed to force one into the practice of prioritization. Of course the same is true when nothing is happening. Being able to focus on what is truly important is the great secret regardless of what is going on around you.

The time has to pass, how we spend it, and what we focus on, is up to us…

Attitude is the rising tide…

“Your attitude is an asset, a treasure of great value. Protect it. Nurture it. And you will reap the future reward.”

Jim Rohn

Isn’t it amazing to be around people with a phenomenal attitude? Their positive energy and perspective is pervasive to all whom them come in contact with. In many ways their attitude is the rising tide that lifts all boats. Sounds like a pretty good reward for cultivating and improving your own attitude…

We win…

“Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.”

Virginia Burden Tower

What stands out to me the most from this quote is the word “nobody.” How often do we have the conviction that permits us to see our work through this lens? Do we have the strength and courage to adhere to this principle even when times are tough?

No one person wins unless the entire team wins. Does that mean that you’re willing to walk away from an individual win if the team is not going to succeed?

BOTH/AND

“Difficulties are just things to overcome after all.”

Sir Ernest Shackleton

How do you view the difficulties and challenges that rise up in your life? Are they insurmountable barriers to your goals and desires or are they simply things that must be dealt with in their own time?

Life isn’t going be all sunshine and roses. The world isn’t perfect and we are all going to have to deal with things that we are both unprepared for and ill equipped to handle, in that moment… The key to overcoming is to carry a “both/and” mindset in all things.

We must see BOTH near AND long term; seeing life through a duality of time lens. One one hand we must see things through a near term lens, i.e., “what do I have to do RIGHT NOW to persevere through this challenge.” AND at the same time we have to be able to maintain an over the horizon perspective. “How do I need to adjust my actions today to ensure that I still maintain focus on my long term goals?” How will my choices in this challenge impact my ability to reach my over the horizon destination?

To understand the perspective that Sir Shackleton speaks from I highly recommend his book “South: The Endurance Expedition.” It’s a great read and highlights some of his extraordinary leadership in the worst of conditions. The difficulties in life are things we just have to overcome.

Team player?

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

Babe Ruth

Would you rather be the best player, or on the best team? Is it about the collective results, or individual stats? Is it all about you, or what the team needs to accomplish? Do you play for the team, or do you play for yourself?

I’ve worked with and been a part of great teams where everyone was tightly focused on achieving the end goal. Teams where everyone played their individual parts to perfection. No matter how hard the work was it was fun and energizing. The team was stronger as a whole than any of the individual players. It it such a blessing to be part of a team that functions in this way.

I’ve also been on teams with individuals that were incredibly talented and smart, arguably far more so than the rest of the team members, but instead of playing for the team, they played for themselves. Those teams weren’t nearly as much fun, or as successful, as those where everyone was focused on playing together and achieving the end goal. There was no chemistry and while the results might have been acceptable on some levels, in many ways those teams underachieved.

I’ll take a team of people that play for each other, and for the team itself, over a team of individual rock stars focused on themselves every day of the week….

Hiking song…

“In this life we are all just walking up the mountain, and we can sing as we climb or we can complain about our sore feet. Whichever we choose, we still gotta do the hike. I decided a long time ago singing made a lot more sense.”

Author Unknown

It is important to remember why you are climbing the mountain the first place. With the vision and goal firmly in mind it is much easier to sing.

I’ve never understood people that put their focus on the things they want to complain about. They talk about others behind their backs. They put their attention on what isn’t going right. They bemoan what they don’t have or what others don’t do as well or the same way they would have done them.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hike up a mountain, any mountain in life, with a person who sings those kind of songs. These people have a “hiking song” of life that I don’t want to listen to or take part in. It’s just not worth it. It distracts from all the beauty and positivity in the world.

Choose your song carefully. People are listening…

Build on defeat…

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou

Every defeat is an opportunity to become stronger, to become better.

Every rising again is a rebirth as a slightly better version of oneself.

Seek out defeats. Seek out opportunities to fail. Seek out challenges bigger and better than you are ready for right now. For tomorrow you will rise up stronger and higher because of the defeats of today.

Tomorrow isn’t defined by today’s defeats, it is built upon them.

Success is never one person…

“One person seeking glory doesn’t accomplish much. Success is the result of people pulling together to meet common goals.”

John Maxwell

I can’t think of anything in life that I have accomplished truly on my own accord without any help or assistance from others. Whether it is through direct collaboration, or by having a network of individuals that have assisted or championed me through life’s journey, every accomplishment has been made possible with the love and energy of others.

Without a supporting cast of people who pitch in and help along the way there are no goals, common or otherwise that can be achieved. We are all here to help serve others and success is being able to unite and work together on work worth doing.

‘Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ Philippians 2:4

What state do you choose?

“Either you defend the status quo or invent the future.”

Seth Godin

I love this sentiment. It’s a very clear demarcation point on how you choose to live your life. You are either focused on what was, or what will be. There is no in between or middle ground.

Personally I have always tried to live by an ethos of “relentless discontent with the status quo.” That spirit has driven me my entire life. Granted it hasn’t always led to the most optimum decisions or outcomes, yet I would rather live forward with anticipation of a better tomorrow than under a constant state of fear that my world is going to be disrupted. Because guess what? It is. Never has that been more apparent than right now…

So one can either live in a state of fear, or in a state of creativity. I choose the latter.

The beauty of a mother…

“All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Abraham Lincoln

There is nothing more beautiful than the proud and radiant smile of a mother watching her child accomplish something, whether it is for the first or one hundredth time. Mothers are the epitome of so many things but especially of giving and self sacrifice. For me I think this verse says it all.

‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” ‘ Proverbs 31:28-29

Daily choices…

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”

John Maxwell

How is tomorrow going to be different from today? What are you going to do differently that makes all of your tomorrows better? If you don’t know, then shouldn’t you figure that out?

Life can either be lived or survived. One requires intentional choices, the other comes as a result of deciding not to choose. It’s a choice you get to make every single day…

Seeking clarity…

“In times of disruption, clarity is the next best thing to certainty.”

Andy Stanley

Lets face it, over the past 45-60 days we have seen incredible disruption across the entire world in almost every category of life. Nothing is quite the same as it was just a few short months ago. People’s lives have been changed, in many cases forever.

As humans we crave consistency. We want assurances that our lives will go according to our plans. We need a foundation of rock upon wish to build our lives even though we are never really in charge.

As leaders we have the challenge of casting a vision of certainty in these most uncertain times. In the absence of knowing what will happen, we must create transparency about what is happening and what we are doing about it.

This isn’t a different challenge than what existed in a pre-Covid 19 world, it has always been the role of the leader to create and cast a vision of the future that influences and impacts the behavior of those they serve. A key principle in accomplishing a vision has been to remove uncertainty and doubt and clarify what is important. Never has this been more important than now.

In the absence of certainty I am reminded of one of my favorite, and most comforting verses in scripture.

‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. ‘ Psalm 23:1-6

We will never know all that is going to come, but whenever there is a lack of certainty we always have a source of exceptional clarity about what is truly important.

Don’t be a tool…

“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.”

Publius Syrus

Reading this I am reminded of the old saying “you can a lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

The ability to get things accomplished isn’t based on titles and roles. Real changes comes through effective leadership and this is based on the strength and quality of the relationships that are intentionally fostered and developed. Without carefully and genuinely taking the time to build a real connection with others, you will never have the influence and impact that is otherwise possible.

If you don’t do this, then direct force is the only tool at your disposal. Seems to me that having a toolbox with only one tool in it is a pretty dumb idea. You’ll end up frustrated, and so will your horse…

Laugh out loud…

“It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.”

Betty White

Are you comfortable laughing at yourself? Can you find the humor in the simple things that you do or say that when viewed from outside-in bring a smile to your lips? Taking oneself too seriously impedes your ability to savor all the world has to offer. The world is a much more beautiful place when seen through the lens of laughter and joy.

A wise person once told me “find something to laugh at every single day and your spirit will never grow old. If you don’t then even if your body is young you are dying on the inside.”

Look for opportunities to laugh today and share that joy with others by laughing out loud. Who knows, you might be giving them that perfect moment of levity they need to hear.

Sharing is caring…

“What we choose to share, defines who we are.”

Costas Voyatzis

What is it that you give away freely to others? What do you guard with jealousy? Are you even aware of the things that you choose to share versus those that you don’t?

Perhaps a better question is; “what do others need from you that you could share with them?”

We have all received a multitude of gifts in our lives. Do we hoard those gifts or do we seek to enhance the world around us, and the people in our lives, by sharing those gifts freely and without any strings attached? Can we give without expecting something in return?

If we aren’t careful, we can live our lives on autopilot. The danger here is that by our very nature humans are wired to be selfish. To live a life of sharing takes intentional effort and focus.

Try this, make a list of things that you could do TODAY to enhance or improve the lives of the people around you. Pick just one thing from your list and then do it. It can be as simple as taking the time to share your gratitude for something someone else did for you. But be very specific and intentional in sharing your time, energy and gifts. If you do this every day imagine how different your world, and much more importantly, the world of others, could be in one year.

Sharing of ourselves is a privilege and a responsibility that we are all imbued with from the time we become self aware. If we choose not to share and give, we are sending a strong message to everyone in our lives that we value ourselves more than we value them. Is that how you want to live?

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