No do overs…

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
 
John Wooden

I don’t know about you but there just never seem to be enough hours in the day.  The world today is busier than ever and the distractions are relentless.  

I really love this quote because it makes you sit back and thing about the work you are doing.  If you are doing something to check the box, achieve the minimum standard, etc, then why are you doing it all all?  If it is something that needs to be done right, what needs to go in order for you to have the time to accomplish the task at hand?

Part of the challenge in today’s hyper busy world is that it is easier, and more acceptable unfortunately, to do more things, at the bare minimum level.  That doesn’t create long-term sustainable success.  Focusing on the few things that really matter, and then executing them to a degree of completion that ensures they won’t have to be redone is a guaranteed way to stand out from the crowd.  

Besides, if you are so busy, how can taking the time to redo anything be a palatable option!  Get it right, get it done, move on to the next important thing.

Do what you can do!

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

John Wooden

I really love this quote as I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the phrase “focus on the solution, not on the problem” which was one of the quotes from last week.  It is amazing how easy it is to allow oneself to focus on why things can’t be done, as opposed to what can be.  It drives me crazy to hear, “that will never work” or “oh, I can’t do that.”  Not that I haven’t been guilty of it myself more than a few times… How do you flip this around when it comes up?

I’ve found that focusing on one simple question can reframe the thinking when I, or others, get caught in the “excuses trap.”  Because let’s face it, if you are focused on what you cannot do, you are making excuses.  The question is this; “What one thing can I do to create change in this situation?” 

Success in anything requires taking ownership and finding the path forward.  Getting caught up in the reason why something won’t work is a guaranteed way to get bogged down and achieve less than you are capable.

Failure must be an option…

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

James Cameron

I would argue that if your goal doesn’t scare you just a little bit, it isn’t set high enough.  If your goals are too easy, they just aren’t going to make you stretch.  They won’t make you push, make you dig deep and find that extra effort and energy you didn’t know you had.  

Goals shouldn’t be targets set to where you know you can hit them, they should scare you because you really don’t know if you can reach them.  Only then will you find what you are really made of.  

Are you willing to aim so high that you might fail?  If failure isn’t a real and potential option, your goals are too easy…  

 

Tackle the tough stuff first…

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”
 
Jim Rohn
I have a long list of things I want to do better.  Things that I need to be better at in order to continue to grow and improve.  Wishing won’t make them happen.  I have to pick the two or three that are most important, or perhaps just the one thing, and then create a plan to make it better.  Then it is all about execution of that plan.  
The watch out is to ensure that I pick the right thing(s) to work on.  Picking the simple one because it is easy or fun, versus the one I really need is where the hard work comes in.  You have to tackle the stuff you might not want too…  But that is how you grow.  It’s the only way to grow.

Focus & Clarity

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
 
Henry Ford
 

There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes when you are part of a team.  The energy that comes from working with others towards a shared vision is palpable.  Success becomes the result, not just a goal or a thing to be achieved.  

Without teamwork I would argue that while a specific task or objective might be achieved, the true opportunity is left unfulfilled.  Teamwork unlocks the magic of what could be. 

Why then do teams get off track?  Lack of a crystal clear vision or goal and clearly aligned team and individual objectives that bring focus and clarity to the work at hand.  Without this there is always going to be some sand in the gears so to speak.

If you haven’t read “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr I highly recommend it.  One of the best books I have read on creating focus and clarity as a team.  Truly exceptional.

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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…

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?  

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…

All the small things…

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

Robert Collier

Great things aren’t built in flash.  It takes planning, focus, determination, and consistent effort to build anything that is worthwhile.  All too often we want the big deal, the big result, the next “big thing” without having put in the effort required to build it.  Those great things won’t and don’t happen without a ton of work that is built on the foundation of the daily activities and habits we embrace.  Those efforts, performed with great clarity and focus, are creating the foundation for our successes in the future.  It is these small efforts that build great things.  It doesn’t work any other way, so don’t take for granted the small things, for those habits will define who you become.  

If you could travel back in time five years what small things would you tell yourself to start doing in order to change and grow toward greater successes and learning in the future?  What prevents you from starting them today? 

 

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