A+ or bust…

“I noticed that the dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”

Steve Jobs

It is amazing how impactful great talent can be on a team.  The right person elevates the performance of everyone around. They are a force multiplier beyond just what they contribute individually.  However, the reverse is also true…  

The wrong person can weigh down the team and limit overall performance.  If an A+ player runs circles around B or C players then B and C players are simply dead weight that slows everything down.

Be the best, don’t ever be comfortable being or hiring a B or C player.  If you are hiring people, hire the best, don’t ever settle.If you are a B or a C player today then call it like it is and figure out what you need to do to grow and become an A.  If you are an A, figure out what you have to do to become and A+.

Never settle with less than the best, from yourself or from those around you…

Today is YOUR adventure!

“Today is life — the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.”

Dale Carnegie

Remember the passion that you used to have to wake up on a Saturday morning as a kid?  Perhaps it was cartoons, unlimited cereal, or playing outside all day long.  There was such excitement for the weekend and the day of adventure that lay ahead.

Why does that feeling have to be relegated to a memory or a rare occurrence?  The day ahead is an adventure, regardless of how old you are, or whether or not it is a day off or a day at work.  The day holds promise and beauty if you simply choose to embrace it.  Embrace today with gusto!

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?

 

Take a day…

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

Maya Angelou

How is it that you recharge?  What do you like to do that helps you relax and refresh so that you can step back into the fray with your full focus and effort?  

I will fully admit that I am not good at all at doing what Maya outlines above.  My mind is always working on something and it is typically about work in some way.  Frankly, my best thinking, the time when I can achieve the most clarity, is when I have changed environments and given myself the space to think through relaxation and rest.  Research has shown again and again that the brain functions at it’s peak ability when it is properly rested and refreshed.  

Find a way to give yourself a break and disconnect from the challenges you face for a day.  They just might not look as daunting when you come back…

Dwell with intent…

“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.”

Oprah Winfrey

Is the glass half full, or half empty?  Are others out to help you, or persecute you?  Are you helpful, or helpless?  Are you a conqueror or a victim?  We all know people who  choose to fit into the  “negative” side of these questions.  They are focused on dwelling on what happens to them instead of focusing their energy on how they can change, grow, learn and evolve.  If one is determined to be taken advantage of, they will be.  How we frame the way we see the world becomes our world.  I also know people who focus on the “positive” aspects and they are the ones that truly inspire and motivate me.  They too have become what they dwell on, and have incredible impact on the lives of others because of it.  

The same trap applies in leadership as it does in life.  Do we dwell on the things we can’t control and look right past the things that we can influence and impact? Does our leadership focus on serving others or being served?   Focusing on the wrong side of the equation can create a self-fulfilling prophecy, for better or for worse.  The good news is that we have a choice.  Who do you want to become?  What is it that you need to dwell on to make that happen?

Discipline = “No!”

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” 

Jim Rohn

In today’s world everything is beeping and dinging and chirping to get your attention.  Their is a constant barrage of information coming at you to try and take part of your precious time and energy.  In this world of continuous distraction how can you focus, where do you start?  

It starts with writing down the goals.  I’ve found that anything short of a written goal is simply a wish or an aspiration.  Writing the goal down, meditating over it, thinking through the necessary steps to make it a reality.  That’s where it starts.  But that isn’t enough.  Actually taking action and putting those steps in place on a daily and ongoing basis requires the discipline to say no to the things that going to get in the way of making that goal a reality.  

I think that is the key.  Discipline isn’t some great “yes” to suddenly doing the right things.  Discipline requires a strong “no” to the things that are going to get in the way of your goal.  Knowing what needs to be done, and then having the conviction to do them, is critical.  

It reminds me of the great quote by Muhammad Ali, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” 

To enhance your ability to make your goals a reality what do you need to have the discipline to say “no” to?

Who is in your circle of trust?

“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”

W. Clement Stone

I recently read that not only are we shaped by our five closest friends but in reality we are also shaped but their five closest friends.  Think about that for a minute.  You are not only a product of the people you spend time with but those they spend time with as well.

I love the wisdom outlined in this quote but when I first read it I did so through the lens of it being cautionary and therefore negative.  I prefer to think of this through a positive lens of being intentionally purposeful about who you spend time with and therefore who you let be an influence on your life.  It also makes me pause and think about the responsibility we have to those who are closest to us in our friend network.  Heavy stuff.

Who are you intentionally inviting into your life and in essence asking them to be part of the environment that forms who you are as a person?  Is it accidental or intentional?

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

Walking a path of purpose…

“I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.”

Marla Gibbs

One of the most profound exercises I have ever done in my life was the creation of a  “Faith Map”  timeline.  In this exercise I created a map of the people that God has put into my life to further my journey.  I call it a faith map because I literally drew it out on large paper so I could visualize the impact that people have had on my life and understand the broader picture.  Taking the time to think through all the  people that I have been blessed to know is truly astounding. I can say with absolute certitude that I wouldn’t have nearly the blessings I have today I certain people hadn’t been placed on my path. If you are interested in digging deep and doing a similar exercise sit down and ask yourself these questions:

  • How did I get here?  Who specifically influenced my journey? (I find it easier to start with more recent relationships)
  • What did I learn from them?  How did they influence my journey?
  • Where would I be without that intentional nudge?  What would my life be like?

I know it sounds corny, and it probably is, but for me it gave me a much greater sense of how intentionally God has worked in my life.  It gives rise to an interesting question.  Because God was so intentional with our creation that he knows every hair on our head and we were created in God’s image, doesn’t that mean are supposed to be intentional with how we spend our lives?  

 

 

 

Less is more…

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Herbert Simon

This is our society today isn’t it?  There is so much information available that we can only consume it in 140 character soundbites.  Or so much information available that we never want to make a decision because we can always find “just a bit more information” to ensure our decision is the right one.  What if we had less information, but more focus?  Is the old adage that “less is more” more appropriate now than ever before?  

I have been spending a ton of time lately reading everything I can get my hands on regarding focus and intentionality. I am actively seeking out secret tips and special tactics to be more productive with my time. I found myself reflecting back to the “good old days” when there wasn’t a constant barrage of information coming at us 24/7.  But then I picked up my copy of “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker (a gift from a very wise friend) and challenges back then were the same challenges we face today.  (By the way, that book was written 50 years ago)  How do you make the best and biggest impact with the time that you have?  As much as we’d (me especially) like to make it a modern problem, it isn’t.  I’d say it’s a human problem.  Why do you think that is?

Plan your work, work your plan…

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”

Tony Robbins

I saw this posted on the wall at the gym today and had to take a picture.  What a great reminder.  Though I am pretty sure I need it on the mirror in my bathroom…

IMG_4221

Know your goals, break them into chunks, start today…  I personally use the Full Focus Planner from Michael Hyatt and the Productive App on the iPhone. Love them both.  There is just something satisfying about having a plan and working it.

 

Our choices define us…

“This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live.”

Omar Bradley

I loved this quote this morning.  It puts a very fine point on the importance of daily choices, of making decisions that matter to you, your life, your goals, your priorities.  We are all going to die.  Yes, that is harsh to think about, but it is the truth.  We all have one life to live.  One life to make a difference and have an impact on this world and the lives of others.  I have long believed that there are two types of people in this world.  Those that happen to the world and those that the world happens to…

This quote resonates for me because it speaks to how much we as humans lets our circumstances define us, to define our decisions on action, as opposed to taking an active step in the outcome we want to create.  I’ve recently read and put into practice a phenomenal book by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy on this topic.  The books title is “Living Forward” and if you haven’t read it then I highly recommend it.  The life we live is either accidental or intentional, either way it is your choice…

%d bloggers like this: