Are you ready and willing to grow?

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Fred DeVito

I have never become a better person, player, contributor, or servant by choosing the easier path. Growth only occurs when you are willing to be pushed out of your comfort zone. How are you going to push yourself today?

Are you working in your garden?

“To experience growth, you must become a conscious and committed gardener of the self. That means you must pull out all the roots of the past and plant new seeds of thought and behavior.”

Peg Streep

It can be easy to fall into the trap of pruning others and ignoring the most crucial work, improving oneself. Over time we all develop bad habits and behaviors that we wouldn’t choose for ourselves if we were picking our “best self” off a menu of desired traits.  

So, the only way to change is to prune intentionally. Where are you going to start gardening?

Is your attitude the right one for growth?

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

Oprah Winfrey

Have you made this discovery? How do you want your future to change? Is your attitude enabling your growth or limiting you?

Seek defeat in order to learn…

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound. Rebuild those plans and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Napoleon Hill

Defeat will come. It is inevitable. If you aren’t risking failure, you aren’t trying hard enough and the best learning one can ever have will likely come from loss. Perhaps that should be the goal? Push so hard that you exceed your capacities, and therefore set the stage for growth.  

These are the building blocks of sustainable success…

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Lou Holtz

Success is an outcome, and if you define being successful as doing something exceptionally well, then I would argue that it only comes when you score well on all three of these areas. The key is that you can’t be lacking in ANY area if you want to create success.  

Write down a particular goal that you want to achieve. Then look at this list and score yourself from a zero to a ten in each area. Do you have the score necessary to create the outcome you desire?  

Ability – Talent, Skill, Capability

Motivation – Desire, Passion, Inspiration

Attitude – Willingingness to learn, Ability to be wrong, Positivity in the face of adversity, Service to others, Capacity for growth, Ability to persevere through failure

It seems to me that Attitude is the great enabler of future growth. Without a good score in this area, you will always be limited.

Are you looking for the opportunity to celebrate others?

“You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins.”

Jim Stovall

Do you have an inward view or an external view? If you aren’t focused outwards on the efforts of others, “we” can’t win…

Are you intensely excellent?

“Intensity is the price of excellence.”

Warren Buffett

I’ve never known anyone to be excellent at something who didn’t also have an almost supernatural intensity about themselves in that particular aspect of life.  

Perhaps excellence is the result of intensity? What are you passionately intense about?

What are you waiting for? Get after it!

“What keeps me going is goals.”

Muhammad Ali

What is your big goal for 2021? We are now at the halfway point of the year. How are you doing on that goal?  

Wait, did you even set a goal? If not, why wait until January to start? Set one now. It doesn’t have to be something that will change the world; just put one out there that you can measure and manage.  

The beauty of goals is that they get you out of bed in the morning with fervor and ready to tackle the day.  

Even if the goal is wrong, you won’t regret having set one and built a disciplined life centered on achieving your intentions. Get after it!

Where’s your time going?

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”

Peter Drucker

How much effort do you put into managing your time? Does it get the same effort and intensity that you use to manage money? If the answer is “no,” why not?  Unlike money, you can’t make more of it.

Time is finite. Spend it wisely, or you’ll get to the end of life and realize you gave up everything for nothing.

Is it your voice or your words which have the most impact?

“We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another – until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.”

Richard M. Nixon

If you are honest with yourself, do you spend more time ensuring your voice is heard or your words?

Which one will matter more in a year? Focus on that one.

If you want to win, you have to slay the tigers first…

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Amelia Earhart

It always amazes me how many fears and challenges we can create in our minds. First, the paper tigers create anxiety, paralyzing our bodies, and then the fears that were only in our minds become a reality.  

Action is the antidote. Even if the action isn’t perfect, it is an antidote to the paralytic effects we build out in our minds. Decide to act. Act with enthusiasm. Build momentum, and most of the fears we create will cease to be.

Are you investing?

“I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful.”

Ron Conway

If you look back at the entirety of your life, were there any inflection points where a person poured into you in some way?  

Where would you be if someone had never made that particular investment?  

How many times has the interest from the investment grown and compounded? 

The great thing is that we all have the opportunity to serve others by giving back. If we do it well, the impact could be exponential.  

Plan for fun…

“Never underestimate the importance of having fun.”

Randy Pausch

How much time do you spend intentionally planning fun into your life. If you aren’t smiling and laughing and seeking out ways to find joy, why exactly are you here?  

Life is way too short to spend any of it miserable, so be intentional with your play. No one ever said, “I wish I hadn’t had so much fun…”

Learning is a lifetime endeavor…

“You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward.”

Conrad Hall 

A sage friend and colleague shared this with me yesterday, and I thought it was exceptionally profound as it captures the essence of a continual learning mindset. This captures the essence of “iron sharpening iron…”

“I want to work with people who I can learn from, and who are open to learning from me. People with whom I can exchange the student/teacher hats at a moment’s notice. People who sit in the uniquely blessed and fulfilling seat of Plato – a student of Socrates and then a teacher to Aristotle.”

Activity or achievement?

“There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little.”

Andy Grove

Did you work hard today? If so, what did you achieve? Was it what you set out to achieve, or did you have a goal at all? Sometimes “hard work” is merely a result of a focus on activities at the expense of the much more meaningful goals…

Where are you going to start?

“Start where you are. Distant fields always look greener, but opportunity lies right where you are. Take advantage of every opportunity of service.”

Robert J. Collier

It is incredible how distracting the view over the horizon can be when there is lots of work to be done right now. The opportunity to serve exists every single day. Don’t worry about the big bright lights of the future; start precisely where you are. That’s how you get to those green fields…

Are you relentless?

“Be relentless in pursuit of those goals, especially in the face of obstacles. Along the way, make no excuses and place no blame.”

Ray Bourque

Perhaps another way to think about this is to use the quote’s last sentence to frame out two knock-out questions.  

Are you making excuses?

Are you placing blame?

If the answer to either of these is “yes,” you aren’t genuinely relentless.  

Over. Under. Around. Through. That’s what it sometimes takes to accomplish our goals. No excuses. No finger-pointing. That’s relentless.

So, are you relentless?

Permission to make mistakes…

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”

Elbert Hubbard

What is the worst thing that can happen as an outcome of the choice you are about to make? Is your decision reversible if things go wrong? If the answer is no, take some time to think it through, understand the risks, and make a well-informed and reasoned determination.  

If the decision is reversible, set a time and date to review the course you plotted against your desired outcomes and be prepared to change direction if necessary. Someone once told me, “always have an exit strategy. You never get on a submarine without knowing where the exit hatches are.”  

If you plan to review and make any necessary changes, you permit yourself to make the mistakes that will inevitably happen.  

Are you energized or filled with dread?

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.”

Simon Sinek

While hard work for something you love might be tiring, you go to bed at night ready to tackle the next day and do it all again. When you are doing something you don’t like and are stressed, you go to bed with dread over what is to come.  

How did you wake up this morning, energized or filled with dread?

Urgency is everything…

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”

Jim Rohn

What do you deeply desire? Will it make you get up out of bed an hour earlier? Move a little faster? Work a little harder? If the answer is no, do you even desire it? If you can’t muster the energy to do the work, does desire even matter?

Perhaps if you can bring a sense of urgency to all you do, you will find more of what you desire…

Honor their memory, every day…

“Let their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.”

Daniel Webster

Every day of the freedoms we experience should be a lasting reminder of the sacrifices others have made to defend those freedoms. For the families and loved ones left behind, it is…

Be the boomerang…

“Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.”

John Wanamaker

Think of how you feel when some random stranger is gracious and pleasant to you for no apparent reason. It can change your entire day. What if you focused on being that person? Courtesy is like a boomerang; the more you give, the more you get in return.  

Are you fighting fires or preventing fires?

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.”

Arnold H. Glasow

If you always focus on what is urgent, you are likely to neglect the truly important. Leadership is the ability to pull yourself out of the maelstrom and find the time and space to think about preventing fires, not just fighting them. If you aren’t leading yourself in this way, who will? 

Are you seeking information or knowledge?

“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”

John Naisbitt

There will always be more data available. There are always more questions that one can ask. The key to getting things done is to know when to stop seeking information and begin looking for the application.  

All the data and questions in the world won’t mean anything if you can’t convert it to action. That’s knowledge.  

How do you score?

“Success is born out of faith, an undying passion, and a relentless drive.”

Stephen Curry

If you were to score yourself on a scale from zero to ten on these three attributes, faith, undying passion, and relentless drive, how would you rate? Understanding this, how likely are you to achieve success?  

Stink is good…

“A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.”

Denis Waitley

Can you imagine how poorly everything would taste if no fertilizer were ever used? How many of life’s great experiences would be lost if we didn’t have some fertilizer along the way. Stop worrying about failing, start focusing on growth!

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dusty

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