Indifference sends a message…

“If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.”

Jack Kerouac

What is it that are you indifferent about?  Is it because you have to do something and don’t really want to?  Does that indifference convey to others?  Sometimes the real risk isn’t the quality of the work that you do, it is the message it sends to everyone else….

99.999% isn’t 100% done…

“The last thing you want to do is finish playing or doing anything and wish you would have worked harder.”

Derek Jeter

A strong finish to anything is rewarding because you know you are giving it your best effort, that the hard work and effort are paying off and you’re ending something on a very high note.  As outlined in the quote above though it can be hard to revel in a strong finish if you think you left something out on the field or didn’t give an initiative your very best effort.  But just sometimes that experience can be an incredible life lesson.  I’ll give you a personal example. (Thanks for humoring me by reading a longer post with a personal story.)

A few years ago I competed in Ironman Maryland.  It was a tough training year and I wasn’t at my optimum fitness for an Ironman race.  But my race goals were pretty simple.

  1. Enjoy the day.  The race is the reward for lots of long training hours and I wanted to simply smile and enjoy every moment of the day.
  2. Given my sub-optimum training I wanted to simply break 13 hours.  No where close to a PR but something I knew I was capable of doing.
  3. Finish the race…  Always my 3rd goal in an Ironman race.  You never know what is going to happen out on the race course.  12+ hours of endurance racing is a long day.  (as an aside, when doing a  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, & 26.2 run the real goal is always, “don’t drown, don’t crash, don’t fall down.”)

To keep from completely boring you with the details I’ll simply share that I had an amazing day and completely crushed goal #1.  I don’t think I stopped smiling at any point, even when the effort was really really hard.  It was a very personal and emotionally fulfilling event.  But that’s not why I am sharing this story…

My finish time was 13:00:45.  Yes, I missed my goal of breaking 13 hours by 46 seconds…  During the last two miles of the run I knew it was going to be close and I picked up the pace.  I was running as hard as I could during the last mile (aways easier with the crowd cheering for you) and was sprinting down the finish line chute.  46 seconds…

To put this in perspective I achieved 99.99903% of my goal.  46 seconds represented a .0009% point shortfall.  Does it matter in the grand scheme of things?  Absolutely not.  Is it even remotely important in life?  Not in any way.  Does it take away from the experience?  No way, no how.  However, I will never think of this race without a rue smile and know that I could have worked just a little harder and easily achieved the goal I had set out to accomplish.

Am I disappointed?  Not in any way.  But it was, and is, such a great lesson to me on the importance of giving your best effort no matter what, because if you fall slightly short, you’ll look back and know that you could have done better…  Finishing strong means bringing your best every single day.  99.999% isn’t 100% done.

 

 

September 28, 2023… Will today’s stress matter?

“When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter in 5 years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go.”

Catherine Pulsifer

This is so much easier said than done.  But it is a critical question to ask in a time of turmoil or stress.  Will this matter?  Sometimes I amend the question to an even easier time period to wrap my head around, “will this matter one year from now?”  It is amazing how wrapped up we can get in whatever is going on in our lives and let things that aren’t, or won’t be important, drive our behaviors and actions today.  I am guilty of this far too often, and this simple question has been an incredible gut-check for me.  And yet, even though I know to do it, I still fail at this one regularly.  

Alternatively, in times where we aren’t stressed how often do we ask about ourselves these question; “What will matter 5 years from now?  What do I need to do about that to make it happen?”  Would baking this question into your routine allow you to find clarity to help minimize the stress that we all feel on a daily basis?

Pick the stressor(s) that are on your mind today, the ones that keep you awake at night or impact you to the point that those around you can feel your tension.  Will the cause of that stress matter on 9/28/2023?  If yes, then what are you going to do about it?  If no, then why is it occupying so much of your bandwidth?

Time wasted = life wasted…

“The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service.”

William H. Davidow

All we have is time.  Time is more valuable than money because no matter what, you can’t buy more of it.  Time wasted is life wasted.

As a customer when does waiting longer for something make it better?  I can’t think of one time where I, as a customer, wanted to wait longer for something than absolutely necessary.  In fact, and especially in today’s world, we should live by the mantra, “when in doubt do it faster.”  Sure, there are experiences where time isn’t a primary concern, such as a great meal at a phenomenal restaurant.  But the minute the time spent is no longer valuable to the customer, it is wasted.  The great meal becomes burdensome if you have to wait for your food longer than you should or if your drink glass sits empty.

Companies that get it right make the customer’s time their top priority.  Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Amazon, Apple, etc. They make it easy to do business with them because they know that they are simply enabling something that I, as the customer, desire to accomplish.  The longer it takes, the harder it is for them to serve my need.  They get that customers are trusting them with their most valuable asset, their time, and they do everything they can to make that time spent worthwhile.

So if an experience takes longer than it should, given that a customer will never be able to get that time back, we are failing our customer.  Period.  Find a way to do it faster.  If you don’t someone else will and do you really want your customer experience to be known as a “life wasting experience?”

G.S.D. = Get. Stuff. Done.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

Pablo Picasso

When in doubt do something.  Even if it is isn’t perfect and might not be the best possible choice.  With a strong bias towards action you can always take another action to address whatever it is that needs to be fixed.  Sitting around talking about things doesn’t make change happen. I believe a bias towards action is critical in life and leadership.  Inaction represents indecision and an inability to get things done.   Inaction doesn’t inspire confidence or create a winning attitude.  

When in doubt, focus on one simple rule.    Get. Stuff. Done. 

 

Never waste a mistake…

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.”

Paul Bear Bryant

When was the last time you made a really big mistake?  I mean the kind where you knew you had a real mess to clean up?  Was it fun?  Of course not.  If it was a mistake that really mattered there can’t be anything fun about cleaning it up.  But the flip side is that without making some big mistakes you can’t really engage in big learnings.  The kind that shake you to your core and make you really dig into yourself and who you are. 

To learn from these types of mistakes you first have to admit that you have made one.  For some reason that always seems to be the hardest part.  Maybe it is pride, or ego that clouds your judgment.  Maybe a long history of success has created an aura of self-righteousness.  Whatever it is, if you can’t admit a mistake, then you can’t learn.  If you can’t learn you are going to repeat that same mistake.  

While screwing something up and making a mistake is never fun, learning from it and acting to resolve can be.  The joy comes with the doing and growing.  Never let a good mistake go to waste.  There is so much than can be learned…

 

What are you working on? Really?

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

There are a finite number of hours in each our days.  Are we spending those hours doing the work that needs be done or are we spending them focused on becoming “successful.”  Success is a result, not a destination.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes in life by focusing on the end result and not the hard work that was right in front of me.  The good news is that you can fix that today, and everyday you go off course, by asking yourself this question:

“Am I working on what needs to be done, or am I working on what I want because of what I’ll get?”  Be honest with yourself.  If you are I have found that things will reframe themselves pretty quickly.

 

Actions speak louder than words…

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

There are so many ways that one can take and interpret this quote.  Today I read this as being aware of the importance of knowing that even when you don’t say something, your behaviors might reflect what it is that you are thinking.  You are responsible for those behaviors in the same vein as if you had spoken the words.

The key difference here is that when you speak the words you can invite dialogue about the meaning behind them.  When people are left to interpret behaviors there is no dialogue unless you have created a place where that kind of conversation is safe and encouraged.

It is far easier to reconcile the words you have spoken than it is the behaviors you have demonstrated.  Words have specific meaning, and while misunderstanding is very common, at least there is a platform to create a conversation and come to a common understanding.  Not so with your actions, those are interpreted through the filters by which others see the world and dialogue and understanding is not nearly as easy to come by.

So what does all this mean?  Recognize the importance of your actions and know that even if those actions line up with the words that you have in you mind, that no one else is hearing those words.  They will interpret them through the lens through which they view the world.  You are as responsible for those actions, and how they are interpreted,  as the words you speak…

Who helps you to “see” clearly?

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Lao-Tze

Have you ever found that the things you don’t want to do, or the type of person that you don’t want to become, can happen without your even realizing it?  That a small thing can become a larger thing and before you know what has happened your thoughts become your words, and your words become actions you never intended.  The good news is that you can fix this by addressing the root source, the thoughts that are driving everything else.  

I unfortunately have made plenty of mistakes in this arena through life (and continue to do so).  Fortunately I have had the rich blessing of great friends and confidants to help address some of my mistakes and challenges before they become tremendous character flaws.  They have helped me reframe my thinking and realize that I the lens through which I have been viewing the world is distorted.  The value of people who will help you see those things that you  can’t is immeasurable.  Who is helping you see the things you can’t, or won’t, see without outside perspective?  

 

Building trust starts with you…

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”

Thomas Moore

Openness implies vulnerability.  To make oneself vulnerable to another person means that you are choosing to let them have access to stuff that perhaps you don’t even want to admit to yourself.  But how do you grow if you don’t open yourself to others?  How do you ensure that you have real perspective if you don’t have people who are willing to call you out when needed?

The old paradigm of leadership said that the leader had to be bulletproof.  They can not show any vulnerability to those who worked for him or her.  But if you aren’t vulnerable you aren’t building trust.  I’d argue the exact opposite is true to be an effective servant of others.  Be vulnerable.  Show those that you that you work for and have the privilege to serve, that you trust them by being open and real.  In turn you are making it safe for them to do the same.  That’s how trust is built.  

Easier said than done of course.  But it starts small with one person and with a single conversation.  Think about it this way.  What kind of relationships do you want to have developed and fostered five years from now?  Those built on openness and trust or those that maintain the status quo?  

 

 

Growth requires humility…

“No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.”

Jim Yong Kim

Discounting and ignoring feedback from others because you don’t agree with it or don’t see it the same way they do is incredibly flawed.  ‘In the mind of the perceiver the perception is a fact.’  

Feedback is a gift.  Because somewhere in there is a kernel of truth you might not want to recognize or address.  There is a root cause for a perception and if you want to grow, if you want to serve others, you MUST look inside yourself and at YOUR behaviors to figure out how to improve.  You have to learn and grow and have humility to understand that you don’t know everything.

Keep seeking feedback!  And if you don’t get it from one person, ask someone else.  When you receive it don’t defend yourself, seek first to understand and then get to work with humility and grace and find a way to change so you can improve in your ability to serve others.  

 

Where does worry belong?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬

One day at a time.  Focus on his kingdom and righteousness first. That is the message Jesus was sharing in this verse during his Sermon on the Mount.  I think it is worth reading the entire passage that leads into this verse to better understand the context of this specific verse.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34 

There is a lot in this passage to really chew on and meditate on.  I know that I for one can get lost in living for the future, planning for, and worrying about, things that aren’t even important in the broad scheme of things.  Through worry I can also focus on the wrong things that aren’t the areas or things I should be focused on.  

It is amazing that when you do what is written above, the worry ceases to be the idol that controls you.  You can put it in the back seat, which is certainly where it belongs and put what’s important in the front…

 

A battle won vs. a battle worth winning…

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Margaret Thatcher

This quote is a great reminder for me of the importance of discipline and perseverance.  It speaks to the importance of staying diligent and not resting on your laurels.  Just because you have done well and won a battle doesn’t mean it will stay won.  You must be disciplined and focused or you might find yourself fighting the same battle over again.  

However, if you have found yourself fighting the same battle more than once was it because the battle needed to be fought or because you wanted to fight it?  The watch out  is to make sure that we are focused on winning for the right reasons.  Is it about winning the battle or is it just about winning?   Has ego come into play and clouded our judgement?  

Discipline and perseverance are outstanding traits, as long as they don’t become a mask for stubbornness and ego-centric efforts.  Make sure you know why you are fighting.  

 

 

 

Creating a better future takes perseverance…

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

Queen Elizabeth II

When I look back on some of life’s hardest moments I realize by persevering those moments helped to create a far better future than I could have ever dreamed of at the time.  The future, even though I didn’t know exactly what is was going to be, was worth the struggle.  Understanding this now makes any struggle or challenge a little less daunting.  I know that God has a plan and that my role is to be faithful and work hard to overcome any challenge.  Giving up and choosing to show a lack of faith in Him and HIs plan is never an option.

What hard times in your life became the platform for your better future?  How does knowing this change your outlook today?

 

How big is your dream?

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Colin Powell

What kind of dream motivates you to take it from a wish to reality?  Is it big enough to make blisters worthwhile?  It is big enough to make you overcome any obstacle?  It is big enough to make you get up early in the morning and do the hard work before anyone else is even awake?  I’d argue that if you aren’t doing those things, your dream isn’t big enough…

 

What winning looks like…

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Vince Lombardi

People that lean in always impress me.  I am talking about those who look for ways to serve others, serve the organization, serve a higher purpose.  The type of person that drops  everything to go get it done; to do what matters most.  They don’t wait to be told or asked but they raise their hand and volunteer.  They exhibit and live an ethos of  “whatever it takes to get the job done.”  They just see what needs to be done and do it.  No complaints, no focus on “what does this mean for me, what am I going to get out of this” they just get it done.  

This type of person doesn’t know how to quit.  This is the athlete that is committed to excellence and doesn’t take plays off.  They know the ball isn’t coming their way on the next play but they are committed to performing at the highest level no matter what.   

This is what it takes to create success.  The determination to grow, persevere no matter what, to find ways to contribute and add value without making it all about yourself.  When you do this, regardless of the score, you win…

Over. Under. Around. Through.

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it.”

Michael Jordan

What is the point of growth if everything is easy?  If we had an “easy button” in our back pocket we would never grow or improve at anything in life.  Challenges are what force us to become better.  Without them we would be stuck in a rut of incrementalism and fall far short of our true potential.  Obstacles are gifts because they create opportunities for us to rise above the challenge and flex our creativity.  I’ve been most impressed by those that, when faced by an incredible test, rally together and figure out a solution.  

Find a way to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.  Skill and talent will only take you so far; grit and determination are what carries you over the hurdles that will happen in life.  

Effort versus Effect…

“Efficiency, which is doing things right, is irrelevant until you work on the right things.”

Peter Drucker

How much time do we spend in life working hard versus stepping back to ensure we are working right?  The impact of our effort is really what matters, not just the fact that we worked extremely hard.  Sometimes it can feel way more rewarding to be “busy” than it can to be effective.

For example, is it more important to check something off your list of to do’s than it is to take the time to think through whether the task should be on your list in the first place?  Have you ever completed a task and THEN written it down just so you could check it off?  Sure, you get this nice little dopamine boost than comes from accomplishing a task but did you actually sit back and make sure that the task needed to be done in the first place?  Why do we do this?  (yes, I have been guilty of this too…) 

I have found that because activity gets measured daily it can be easy to become a slave to being busy and lose sight of the desired results. In today’s multi-tasking as a measure of success world we can often justify our worth by being busy and having lots of activities going on at the same time.  However the real measure of effectiveness is whether or not the desired results are being delivered.

If you were to add one thing to your list to improve your effectiveness I would suggest this:  Schedule time weekly to think through what needs to be done in order to achieve your desired results.  Without this, you might have lots of effort but little to show for the work.

One last question.  Does your measure of success at the end of the day come from how many things were checked off your list or whether or not you were checking the right things off your list?

Make the seconds count…

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’”

William A. Ward

Two of the most powerful worlds in the English language are “thank you.”  Recognizing the efforts or contributions of another person and expressing your sincere appreciation can have impact and meaning far beyond the moment that you say the words.  Simply saying “thank you” to another person can be a beacon of light and hope in their entire day.  It shows others that they matter, that their work matters, that their efforts matter.  

How many of those seconds are spent in the aforementioned most powerful way?  God gives us the precious gift of time.  How do we spend it on others?  It reminds me of this verse from Romans 14:12: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  How are you going to account for the 86,400 seconds you have today?  Who’s life will you touch by simply saying “thank you?”

 

Never forget…

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”

Sandy Dahl, wife of pilot Jason Dahl, who was flying United 93 (2002)

It is hard to believe it has been seventeen years since the world as we know it changed forever.  9/11 has been called the “Pearl Harbor of our generation” and even now, years later, it invokes an emotional response.

What I love about this quote is that it is timeless.  “Life is short and there is no time for hate.” It applies no matter the day, no matter the season, no matter the challenge you are facing in life.

 Life is short.

Wrestle with that in your mind for a few minutes.  Life is short.  Has it sunk in yet?  It’s been seventeen years since we were so violently reminded that life is short.  It has flown by in the blink of an eye.  The next seventeen years will fly by too.  How do you want to remember them?

“Life is short there is not time for hate.”

 

 

 

Demand more, in the right direction…

“Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more.”

Tim S. Grover

I completely agree with the sentiment expressed in this quote.  I have long believed that no one could push me harder than I could push myself.  As I have gotten older, and perhaps wiser, I have learned that while no one can push me harder, perhaps others can push me in ways I didn’t even know that I needed to go.  

Demanding more of yourself sometimes means getting perspective and help from outside so you know exactly where to push so hard…  Who helps you see where you channel your relentless energy?  

 

How do you tend your wish garden?

“Wishing is a form of inspiration for the lazy mind but taking action, persisting and finding alternative routes to your destination against all odds is the definition of a SUCCESSFUL venture.”

Oscar Bimpong

A wish is simply a seed that is sown that can grow into a great tree or a beautiful flower.  But for the seed to survive and become what is is capable of it must overcome all sorts of challenges and obstacles.  In the same manner for a wish to grow it must be nurtured, it won’t happen by accident or through simple desire.  

This quote reminds me of the parable of the sower from Matthew 13: 1-23.  For our wish to become reality it must fall on good soil and be tended and protected.  That is our responsibility and obligation as leaders.  To achieve great things we can’t be content with wishing, we must instead ensure that our dreams, and the dreams of those whom we serve, are nurtured, encouraged, and sustained against all odds.  If wishes are seeds then we are gardeners charged with ensuring they grow to their full potential.

What seeds are worth taking from dream to reality?  What seeds are worth planting and protecting no matter what happens?  

The definition of a wasted day…

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”

Henry Ford

One of my favorite questions to ask my kids is “what did you learn today?”  At age nine and almost seven it isn’t always well-received.  Sometimes the answer is “nothing” or “I don’t know” but a lot of the time I am surprised by what they are learning each and every day. One of the traits that I want to instill in them is a deep thirst for learning.  That every day is an opportunity to learn something new and grow, even if just a little bit.  I want them to lean into every day looking for opportunities to learn.

A spirit of learning and growth is very intentional.  It’s not the same as looking back and realizing you learned something.  That happens by on a daily basis almost by accident for everyone.  Practicing active reflection and considering what has been learned is really important, and something we should all do.  But what I am talking about is starting the day with the specific goal to learn something.  The deliberate practice of seeking out new knowledge and information.  

I have found that when I do good at framing my mind for learning (and I certainly don’t do it well all the time) I will discover far more than when I am in a transactional “get it done” mode of thinking.  A simple conversation in the hall at work, an article read, a conversation with a friend.  Those can all be platforms for new learning if you made the active choice to live every day with a goal to be able to answer the question “what can I learn today?”

A day where nothing new is learned, or perhaps even more importantly, where there is no attempt to learn something new, is my definition of a wasted day.  

Do. The. Work.

“Do. The. Work. Every day, you have to do something you don’t want to do. Every day. Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, push past the apathy and laziness and fear. Otherwise, the next day you’re going to have two things you don’t want to do, then three and four and five, and pretty soon, you can’t even get back to the first thing. And then all you can do is beat yourself up for the mess you’ve created, and now you’ve got a mental barrier to go along with the physical barriers.” 

Tim S. Grover

This quote comes from a book titled From Good to Great to Unstoppable that is is a very worthwhile read.  Tim is a trainer/performance coach for some of the world’s most elite athletes.  The kind of people who win championships and are the top 1% of the top 1%.  The type of folks that demonstrate the work ethic and drive written about above.  

Do you know what is interesting about this?  Every single one of us has this opportunity in our lives.  We might not all be genetically gifted by God to play football or basketball but every single one of us has the ability to “Do. The. Work.”  It is a choice.  Being a champion at something take relentless effort and doesn’t come without a high personal cost.

You have to choose to do the work.  You can either own the work, or the work will own you.  It’s your choice, but make no mistake, it is a choice.  Choose wisely.  

 

Speed + Simplicity + Self-confidence = Success

“The 3S’s of winning in business are speed, simplicity and self-confidence.”

Jack Welch

I love this!  When you think about it these are mutually dependent variables.  You just can’t have one without a good dose of the other.  

In today’s world speed is more critical than ever and you just can’t be fast if you allow complication to creep in to your processes or thinking.  Do some problems require complicated solutions?  Of course.  But the essence of creating speed is simplicity, and you simply can’t be fast to market, fast to grow, fast to learn, if complexity rules the day.  If you want to be fast, you have to find ways to keep things simple.  Period.  Simplicity is the great enabler of speed.  

Self-confidence (never to be mistaken for arrogance or high ego) enables speed and simplicity through decisive action and the ability to learn and adjust.  All too often we measure our own self-worth not on the results, but on the complexity of whatever solution we have created for a given problem.  Self-confidence is knowing that simple is good and that just because we are keeping things simple it is NOT an indication of low-value or low worth.

The road to mediocrity and irrelevance is paved with slow and complicated projects/programs/products.  I can’t imagine that much self-confidence was created through these failures…  

 

 

Change is an investment opportunity…

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Dan Millman

Change can be tough.  There will be uncertainty and the unknown lurking just over the horizon. Staying the same is always the easier choice, though it is only very rarely more beneficial.  Every great discovery and adventure story starts with, as it’s basic premise, uncertainty, the unknown, great risk and only the potential for reward.  Frodo Baggins certainly defied all Hobbit traits by setting out on his great adventure.  It would have been much easier for him to stay home, bury his head in the sand like an ostrich and ignore the burning world around him.  But that isn’t the choice that he made, and if you are as much of a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic as I am you know how that turned out…  

Building something new takes energy, but it is an investment in new experiences that creates the person you were born to become.  We all have a FINITE amount of energy to spend.  Do you invest it in the future or spend it trying to hang on to the past?  For example, think of how much money has been spent by people trying to look younger than they are.  Money well spent fighting the perception of the aged or would it be money better spent embracing new life experiences or helping others? That’s a very personal choice, but it represents the choices we make when we are fighting to stay the same instead of investing in becoming a new and better self.  

What investments are you going to make today?

 

What pushes you to grow?

“To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.”

Tony Dorsett

What gets you out of bed in the morning?  What is that big thing that drives you long after everyone else has given up?  That something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and into new levels of growth?  

It doesn’t have to be a big thing, or something that will impress others, but it has to be YOUR thing.  When you find that bigger than you something that will drive you to grow beyond your current self, you will have succeeded.  You will have the fuel necessary to make the changes needed to grow as a person and as a leader.  

One word of caution, make sure that the thing you hold on to, that motivates you, that inspires you doesn’t become an idol that OWNS you…

Worthy of your very best?

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”

Theodore Isaac Rubin

Think  back to some of the biggest accomplishments in your life.  Did the satisfaction come from achieving the simple things or was it the completion of some momentous goal?  There is nothing like doing the really hard work and then seeing the finished product.  The beauty of this is that it also creates a desire for more hard work because you know what you are capable of accomplishing when you perform at your best.  

I can’t remember all the easy tasks and accomplishments from my life but I can easily list the efforts that were the hardest to achieve.  I felt happiness but also a sense of purpose and pride, that the hard work was worth it and had paid off.  

I vividly remember being at mile #16 during my last Ironman marathon knowing that I only had 10 miles left to go, that all the pain in my body was temporary, that all the training and effort put in to get that point was paying off.  The last mile of the race was a blur but running through the crowds at the finish line was pain free even though every fiber of my body was tired and ready to quit.  The Ironman race (or any other endurance event) is never really accomplished on race day.  It is completed well beforehand during the long training days and early morning workouts.  The race itself is the reward, the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is the icing on the cake, it becomes the fuel for the next big thing.

The feeling of happiness from accomplishing some great task is both the reward, and the motivation for future endeavors.  What is the next great thing that is worthy of your very best?

 

Direction vs. Time

“Live your life by a compass, not a clock.”

Stephen R. Covey

What sets our day, our clock or our compass?  It’s funny when you think about it, the world was discovered not with a clock, but a compass. But nowadays time is everything that we care about.  We wear a watch, we schedule our days to the down to the last minute.  How often do we check to make sure that we are going in the right direction?

What if instead of a watch we wore a compass on our wrist to check and see if we were moving in the right direction?  I don’t know about you but staying on time seems to take priority in life over direction at times.  We focus on the importance of time instead of focusing on where we are going.

The bottom line is this.  You need both a compass and a watch.  But it needs to be in that order.  If you put a clock ahead of of the compass you’ll make great time, but you won’t know where you are going….

But not you…

“Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.”

Jim Rohn

How often do we ask ourselves these types of questions? Why do we dream small?  Live small?  Settle for less than we are capable of becoming? Why do we let others define us? Why do we focus on “can’t” instead of “I can” or “I will?” 

“But not you…”

It can be easy to fall into the trap of self-pity and excuses and become one of the “others” mentioned in the quote.  Easy, and incredibly dangerous because once you start down this path it is hard to climb back out.  It reminds me of one of my favorite, and incredibly funny, sayings.  “Beware the lollipop of mediocrity, lick it once and you will suck forever.”  Crass, yes, but oh so true.  

“But not you…”

The only way not to be small is to focus on your God given gifts and refuse to settle for being less than the person that God designed you to be.  If you haven’t figured that out yet, that is OKAY!  We are all learning and growing.  The key is is to understand that this isn’t supposed to be easy.  You can’t grow without going through the crucible and learning from the challenges.  

How do you choose to live a life that exemplifies these words?

“But not you…”  

 

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