Bring the future home…

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

Alan Lakein

The key here is that you must have put in the time, effort, and energy into thinking about the future you want to create. So often people seem to simply exist through life or react to the world around them and then they get frustrated that their “plans“ haven’t come true.

You don’t really have a plan if you haven’t defined what you want the future to look like. You just have activities. You have energy expended with no defined return…

Define the future you want to create. Plan your work. Work your plan.

Why we are here…

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.”

Wilferd Peterson

As I read this list of attributes and behaviors I am struck by the fact that this EXACTLY the type of person/people that I most enjoy being around. They are the ones that inspire me to do more and be more. I just hope that I can be the same for others.

I particularly love the last line the most, “leave this world better than you when you found it.” Why else would we be here?

The ultimate win/win…

“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”

Alfred Brendel

Listening might be the ultimate “win/win” strategy. You’ll learn something and the person that you are hearing is validated as important.

So ask good questions and then shut up and listen…

Less is always more…

“Don’t make the process harder than it is.“

Jack Welch

Is the value you provide based on the quantity of the words that you use? In everything you do are you adding value or adding complexity?

Define what needs to be done. Clearly establish the goal. Then do everything within your power to eliminate anything that gets in the way. True leadership is demonstrated through clarification and simplification.

Success isn’t about adding more, it is about taking away what doesn’t matter…

Debits vs. Credits…

“Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.”

Elizabeth Harrison

The energy you expend can either be a debit or a credit to those around you. You get to make that choice. You get to decide if you are going to be a person that encourages and intentionally seeks out the positive in others and in life.

Those who choose to be additive to others and focus on lifting the world up are those who create the world that should be. They aren’t content with the world that is and they realize that success is determined not by how much gets done, but by how many people they take with them along the way…

Who people…

“There is no better test of a man’s integrity than his behavior when he is wrong.”

Marvin Williams

We all make mistakes, and hopefully we can learn from most of them. Over the years I am sure that I have made more than my fair share.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that when you focus on what is right instead of who is right then being wrong isn’t nearly as painful, in fact it is hardly painful at all. The problems really rise up when you reverse that order.

When the who is more important than the what, be prepared for frustration and aggravation. It’s hard for “who people” to let their egos go and admit when they are wrong…

Listen up!

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self. ”

Dean Jackson

The ability to listen is a gift that every person is capable of giving, yet it is among the rarest of all gifts that we give to one another. To truly listen, you must make a conscious choice that says “for the next XYZ minutes the person that I am conversing with is more important than me and what I think.”

Easy to say, hard to do. Can you make the commitment to be fully engaged in one conversation today where you are putting someone else and what they have to say, ahead of your own needs?

Saddle up…

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

John Wayne

How many things in life do we not do, or not do well, simply because we are afraid of committing ourselves fully and completely? We only go so far, but then quit because we are afraid of putting forth the effort it will take to get the job truly done.

Do you have the courage to hold yourself accountable and commit 100% effort towards the hard work?

It’s in the eyes…

“You can’t change all that is wrong in this great big world, but you can have an impact, even if it is just a tiny, positive impact on a stranger that receives a smile from you on the street today. There’s so much we can do for others, and in the end, what we do for others ends up benefiting us tenfold. So, let’s do this. Let’s make our little worlds amazing today.”

Craig Ballantyne

If you look back at your day today how many people did you offer a smile to? Perhaps it is easy to make the excuse “but I had on a mask, they couldn’t see me smile.” Yet that is merely an excuse. I have noticed that even with a mask on two people can smile at each other simply by making eye contact and offering a smile. The eyes are the true connection.

Try it tomorrow. If you are wearing a mask, don’t let that stop you. Make eye contact, smile away, and give something positive to another person…

Help make way…

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

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

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

The list…

“Today is a brand-new day. A fresh start. Replace any negativity with positivity. Think happy thoughts. Exercise. Drink lots of water. Fill your body with fuel. Healthy is happy. Inspire yourself. Create. Laugh. Play. Love. Learn. Give someone a compliment. Make a new friend. Do a random act of kindness. It creates good karma. Take chances and finally start living life to its fullest. But no matter what’s thrown at you today, smile and remember, tomorrow’s always a fresh new start.”

Author Unknown

Start by looking at this list not as an exhaustive checklist of things to do, but as guidance on how life should be lived. Think of how different life would be if you just did these things every day. How different would it be one year from now? Why wait? Start today…

Just imagine…

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

John Lennon

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

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

Just imagine… This truly sounds like heaven…

What do you see?

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

J. Krishnamurti

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

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

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

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

Dream bigger…

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

Anthony Robbins

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

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

Asked and answered…

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

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.

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

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

The wizard behind the curtain…

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

Vince Lombardi

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

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

Just keep swimming…

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

Bill Bradley

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

Persistence is…

Just one more time…

Don’t quit now, you’re almost there…

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

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

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

Doing what is right…

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

William E. Gladstone

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

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

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

Some gave all…

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

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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

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

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

Count your blessings…

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

John R. Wooden

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

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

Fear stopping….

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

Erica Jong

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

“Have to” vs. “Get to”

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

Duke Ellington

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

Generosity begets generosity…

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

Jackie Robinson

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

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

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

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

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

What’s important?

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

Paulo Coelho

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

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

Attitude is the rising tide…

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

Jim Rohn

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

We win…

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

Virginia Burden Tower

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

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


“Difficulties are just things to overcome after all.”

Sir Ernest Shackleton

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

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

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

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

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