How much change, and when?

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Unless you fail to make the turn.”

Helen Keller

How do you know when you need to change?  How much change is necessary?  I really like this quote because it makes me think through those two questions.  When you are driving a car on the interstate your changes are subtle and slight.  A big change in direction can be accomplished with just a few degrees of adjustment on the steering wheel and very little pressure because the change is happening over a great span of distance.  But if you are driving across town, and come to a ninety degree turn, you are turning the steering wheel through multiple rotations to accomplish the change in direction that is necessary.

Life and leadership can be a lot like these examples.  Sometimes the changes needed are minor adjustments that end up making huge impact over time.  Other times the change needed is immediate and drastic and must happen NOW.  Know when to make the right type of change decision is key.  Because if you don’t, as Helen Keller said, you will fail to make the turn…

Spend your time wisely…

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

Bruce Lee

How much time do we waste every day?  It seems that in todays world everyone is busier than ever.  But being busy does not mean that we aren’t wasting our time.  How many hours do we spend doing things, being extremely busy, but when we look back we can’t see that any value was derived from the time we spent? 

Do we tell ourselves that we are “busy” because that is an easier pill to swallow than to take a hard look at our time and see if we are being effective in how we spend it?   Are we busy doing the right things?  

Act like there is no other choice…

“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”

Henry Kissinger

How do you create this environment artificially?  When there are truly no alternatives it is magical how intense and focused one can be on the task at hand. The challenge is that to live in this environment all the time isn’t reasonable.  There are always going to be times when there is a plethora of alternatives.  The leadership challenge is to pick the right one and then ACT like there aren’t any other choices…

Struggle builds strength…

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Given the author of this quote the first thing that I thought of of course was the physical process of working out and strengthening your body through exercise.  In order for the muscles to be stronger they must be used and strained; only then will they grow back stronger.  Think of the ‘day after’ feeling when you have had a great workout and your body is sore.  That soreness is the body rebuilding after “hardship” and an indication that strength is building.  What a great feeling.

Why don’t we approach life the same way?  We want everything to be easy.  As a rule people desire no hardships, no challenges, no struggles.  In today’s Instagram world everything has to be staged and we envy those with “perfect” lives.  We never see the private struggles and when those struggles happen to us far too often there is a victim mentality vs. leaning in and embracing the suck knowing that you will emerge on the other side far far better.

You have to tear down the entrenched positions of the moment so you can be prepared for the future.  If you are struggling today with anything think of this reframing question.  Instead of “why me?”  Think, “what am I being prepared for?” Struggle builds the muscle of life.

 

Reasons vs. Excuses…

“It is easier to move from failure to success than from excuses to success.”

John C. Maxwell

Excuses are devoid of action.  They reflect a lack of accountability for results which becomes a fertile ground for failure to take root.  The only way to break free from failure is to understand the reason that something failed and then create an action plan that you own and are accountable for.  The plan still might not work, but there can’t be any excuses, you have to own the outcomes.

When it comes to delivering results the difference between simply understanding a reason something happened, and making an excuse, is accountability and action.  

What will you accept from yourself?

“Essentially there are two actions in life: Performance and excuses. Make a decision as to which he will accept from yourself.”

Steven Brown

Does the world happen to you?  Or do you happen to the world?  I’ve written about that before but it is such an important part of how one approaches life.  One is an internal choice, but the other is a choice as well; a choice to be a victim of the external world.  

You make these decisions one choice at a time…  Which choice are you going to make tomorrow morning?

How much do you care?

“If you want to be the best leader you can possibly be, no matter how much or how little natural leadership talent you possess, you need to become a serving leader.” 

John C. Maxwell

How easy it can be to forget this when working to accomplish some task.  The results take priority over people and the focus is on what is getting done, not who you are serving and how it gets done.  

Servant leadership requires more than lip service.  It means more than results from some project or initiative.  It means to serve others.  Period.  It doesn’t mean easy, or soft leadership.  It means that you have to genuinely care about those that you serve and make sure that they are empowered for success.  Sometimes this means that they are not in the right role, or even the right organization.  That is okay.  Because if you truly care, and serve them, you want them to be the most successful that they can be.  Which requires genuine care, consistent support, candor, and feedback.  

You have to care about your team more than you care about yourself and they will know this based on how you serve them.  

Climb the wall!

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” 

Randy Pausch

If you haven’t read the Randy Pausch book “The Last Lecture” I HIGHLY recommend that you do so.  It is easily one of the most compelling and inspirational books I have read in my life.  I haven’t read it in a number of years but it is going to the very top of my queue to reread starting this weekend.  If you are interested there is also a video of his lecture that is well worth the time.  You can check that out here.

I believe the ability to overcome obstacles and achieve despite the barriers in front of you is one of the most critical to long-term success in life.  Whether you call it grit, determination, or perseverance it is a fundamental element that those who are successful (and defining success is for another post…) seem to have as a deep core character trait.  It is an attitudinal element that manifests through behavior.  Those that have it seem to live life with an “over, under, around or through” ethos that allows them to overcome any of the brick walls that life throws at them.

How do you approach the walls in life?  Is it with defeatism or an intense focus that allows you to drive and show just how badly you want something?

Why don’t you try?

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”

Simon Sinek

How many great ideas just whither up and die because they never see the light of day?  I know I have had some great ones (well I think they were anyway) that have lived only in my mind.  Why does this happen?  Is it fear of failure?  Prioritizing the wrong things?  Not making the experimenting with new ideas a focus area?  

There can be tons of reasons of course.  But what would happen if you dedicated an intentional amount of your time to focusing on bringing new ideas, great ideas to life?  Keep a running list, prioritize that list by impact and what really excites you.  Decide to try one new idea each year, quarter, month, whatever schedule makes sense.  But decide to try.  If you don’t decide to act then you never will.  

What is the worst that can happen?

“Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far, far greater.”

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair 

What decision are you delaying while waiting for more information?  How much data or insight do you need in order to make it?  Will you ever have enough information to be 100% sure it is the right decision?  

Perfect information and insight doesn’t exist.  If we only made decisions when we had enough information to insure that our course of action was 100% infallible then nothing would ever get done.  However, what is the impact to those around you when decisions aren’t made and action isn’t taken?  Slowness and inaction because the accepted norm and indecision becomes a disease.  It creeps through an organization or group and paralyzes all potential for progress. 

Ask yourself this question the next time you are faced with a key action decision.  “What is the worst possible thing that can happen based on this decision to take action?”  Once you understand the risks, and can mitigate for them, no decision seems quite as daunting.  

Why are you running?

“Every morning in Africa, an antelope wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest antelope, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or an antelope – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” ―

African Proverb

What really gets your attention?  What brings everything into focus and ignites within you the ability to hit the ground hard in the morning and run your very best game?  

When I think of this message I think of how awesome it is when there is a burning focus to life that brings clarity to everything else around me.  Without this focus, during the seasons where it is unclear, life just isn’t quite as rich. 

Do you know why you are running today? 

Who gets the credit?

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” 

Harry S. Truman 

Who should get the credit for any accomplishments that we make in life?  I’m convinced that not once in life should I get any credit for anything that I have “accomplished.”  God has blessed me beyond measure and the opportunity to work with, serve for, and help amazing people is an incredible reward.

What happens when we focus our attention on doing the right thing and focusing on making a difference?  Instead of putting the effort towards what we “get” instead we should focus on what needs to be done, regardless of any credit that is due….   Reframing the “credit” due is incredibly freeing.  So much of our society today is all about the individual reward and recognition instead of focusing on doing the right thing.

What would you do differently if the “credit due” didn’t matter?

The magic recipe for success…

“It’s not the X’s and the O’s, but the Jimmys and the Joes that make the difference.”

Unknown

This quote has been used in college football for years.  Finding the original author proved to be impossible.  It has been attributed to Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson and many others.  Leaders who knew that no matter how brilliant their plays might look on the chalkboard, if they didn’t have the right talent on the field to execute it, the plays wouldn’t work.

I have been blessed in life to work for teams and players that could perform exceptionally well in almost any business.  Frankly, they could be successful at any plan, product or initiative.  Having an opportunity to serve alongside players like this is incredibly motivating and humbling.  They elevate the game of everyone around them.  But it is more than just pure energy and commitment.  The magic happens when the players fit the game plan AND the plan is the right one for the game being played.

Winning takes combining both great plays and great players.  You have to have the right talent in the right place.  You can’t ask a 6’4″, 220 pound wide receiver who runs a 4.35/40 to be your left tackle and expect to win.  Nor can you ask your 6’5″ 312 pound offensive tackle to go run a post route down the field and expect him to beat the coverage.

As Jim Collins wrote in “Good to Great” (still one of my favorite books of all time).  “First who, then what.”  You have to have the right people.  The bottom line is that if you don’t have the right talent you can’t win.  Period.  The joy of working with exceptional people is almost indescribable.  Their will to win, their effort and intensity, their sheer energy that is exuded all the time.  With the right people you know that almost any game plan can work.  With the wrong people, no matter how great the plan, it is doomed to failure or mediocrity at very best.  Sustainable greatness comes from marrying the right talent to the right plan and then executing relentlessly.  

So here’s the question.  Do you have the magic mix of the right talent, in the right place, at the right time to win?

 

 

You can’t grow if you are comfortably numb…

“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”

Benjamin Franklin

Why do we dislike it when people don’t agree with us for some reason?  Is it because we want to be right?  We want to be liked?  Perhaps it is because we have a personal stake in whatever it is that is being disagreed with?

When people disagree with us are they doing so because they are right and we are wrong or is it because the ideas and knowledge we have at the time isn’t shared and equally understood?

I would argue that it isn’t about being right or wrong,  it is about the ability to understand that we only see the world through our own unique lens and in order to make meaningful change and embrace growth you must get outside of your comfort zone and see the world differently.  That means you must make it safe for people to disagree with you.  Without making it safe for others to disagree, making it known that you want to see the world differently, you will never get a broader view and a chance to grow.

For some reason I kept thinking of the last line from the Pink Floyd classic “Comfortably Numb:”  “The dream is gone, I have become comfortably numb.”   I think that is what happens if you are surrounded by people that only agree with you.  You become numb to growth and lose the ability to see the world from different perspectives and angles.

Don’t become “comfortably numb…”

Complaining is an investment in negative energy…

“Watch yourself about complaining. What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

Maya Angelou

I love how this quote frames out there are only two paths forward from a complaint.  Change it, or change yourself.  That’s it.  Once you have invested the energy (think about that for a minute…) into complaining about something you only have two action oriented choices.  Of course you could continue to complain and wallow in misery but that’s your own choice if you decide to do so and generating a positive return from that energy is practically impossible.

I’ve found that approaching this with the perspective of an investor can be incredibly impactful.  Ask yourself; “is this investment of my precious energy and time into complaining about something going to result in a positive action or outcome?”  If the answer to this questions is “no”, then why would you continue to invest in something with a negative return?   Change the situation or change yourself.  If the answer is “yes,” then the automatic next question is “so what are you going to do about it?”

 If you are going to use the finite energy you have in life to complain about something will you take the next step?  Will you own the reason for the complaint and do something about it?  Easier said than done of course.  But most things worth doing are…  

Winning is a habit…

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Vince Lombardi

Winning is contagious, it spreads like a wildfire on a dry and windy summer day.  But losing is contagious too.  I am sure that you have been on both winning teams, and losing teams.  The difference in behavior and attitude is remarkable.  As a leader the key to building a winning team is to find wins and build on those wins.  Find the little things that are wins on a moment by moment or daily basis.  Create the momentum that allows a team to lean in and seek new and greater ways to grow.

You can apply this strategy in your self-leadership as well.  Reflect on your day and ask yourself “what were my wins today?”  Far too often, for me at least, it is easy to spend the time and energy thinking about all that you have to do, or all that you didn’t get done.  Instead, spend some time focusing on the wins that you did have.  You might find yourself building and reinforcing a habit of winning.

 

Are you satisfied?

“The minute you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t there anymore.”

Tony Gwynn

There is a fine line between satisfaction and complacency; and complacency is the enemy of growth and change.  If you are satisfied with 90% today, then will 75% be good enough tomorrow?  Being satisfied becomes a downward spiral if you don’t guard against it with almost religious fervor.  

Great things become great because someone was never satisfied with the results and continually sought for ways to make it better.  They never settled and were complacent about the results.  

The question is, if you are doing something, and are merely satisfied with the outcome, should you be doing it all?

Every day is a job interview…

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”

Kevin Stirtz

I’ve long believed that you have to treat every day as a job interview.  You have to show up and put your very best foot forward.  This absolutely applies when thinking about how you approach your customers.  Every interaction and touchpoint is an opportunity to build a relationship that lasts and keeps them coming back for more.

There is a reason that companies like Chick Fil A, Publix, and Apple are so successful.  They understand this mantra and even when they don’t get it right (and no company gets it right all the time) they take steps to fix the situation.  These companies all have a culture of putting the customer experience first and building what they do around the experience they want to deliver.  It works and they make it a priority down to the smallest details.

By the way, customers don’t have to be the people or companies that you sell products and services to.  It could be the people that you work for and serve in your organization. As a leader it could be the people on your team…  You do want them coming back don’t you?

If you think about every customer experience as a job interview how would it change what you do today?

 

 

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…

 

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