April 28, 2018

What About Now?

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to tackle a new task or refine an idea or meet a deadline but been unsure where to begin? That’s obviously rhetorical because we all have but the trick is how we successfully get out of that first key step to move forward.

It’s often been said leadership is about results but those results have to begin with an idea that must be advanced and refined before we can deliver it. But how much think time do we allow in our day to even get any of done? Our biggest hurdle is often us and in our inability to get started.

Ideas to get us moving forward.

Inspiration can often be unexpected. Recently, I was renewing my passport and while leaving the office I looked at my old one that had been with me for every flight, hotel, packed bag, cancelled flight, security check, delayed flight, and journey since 2007. Five years of fun, adventures, stress, bad food, opportunities, laughs, setbacks, great meals, and new friends.

How could a passport renewal create such a rush of memories? Perhaps it’s why we have pictures that trigger the emotion we felt at the time they were taken. It's not good to feel your best is behind you, but lessons and memories are part the deal.

Memories not Mementos

No matter what expertise we deploy, we can’t change the past. But it can teach us and remind us. It can clear a path to what could work in the future. Think about how you can apply that lesson to your leadership journey.

It’s the people who touch our lives and the experiences we most recap and recall. That booklet filed with paper reminded me to get back in touch with a few friends, remember good times, and think of lessons learned which weren't pleasant at the time but were necessary to reach the next milestone.

We need to give the past the respect it deserves, but on our way to the future, we can't forget to enjoy the now.
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April 25, 2018

Ready, Set, Go...

Have you ever been in a situation where you have to tackle a new task or refine an idea or meet a deadline but been unsure where to begin? That’s obviously rhetorical because we all have but the trick is how we successfully get out of that first key step to move forward.

It’s often been said leadership is about results but those results have to begin with an idea that must be advanced and refined before we can deliver it. But how much think time do we allow in our day to even get any of done? Our biggest hurdle is often us and in our inability to get started.

Here are some ideas to get us moving forward.

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.
Henry Ward Beecher

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
not going all the way, and not starting.
Buddha

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
Walter Elliott

Now is the operative word. Everything you put in your way is just a method of putting off the hour when you could actually be doing your dream.
Barbara Sher

The beginning is the most important part of the work.
Plato

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today
and make a new ending.
Maria Robinson

The idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.
Seth Godin

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Chinese Proverb

The starting point of all achievement is desire.
Napoleon Hill

I haven't failed. I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.
Thomas Edison

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.
Mattie Stepanek

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.
Anne Frank

Let's start!
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April 21, 2018

2,000 Hours

Imagine working where ideas are shared and appreciated, each and every person in the organization is valued, and progress is measured not by empty promises and well crafted corporate speak but by the accomplishments of everyone involved. For real!

When you have a roomful of opinions all fighting for a voice in a decision making process, the result is often a lot of indecision. Each of us is entitled to our thesis but this is where the water gets murky. But if you can take time to entertain new ideas then move them forward with a clear plan and data to in turn shape the idea into something tangible while including input from all involved. You will see stronger ideas for your business and a much more engaged team.

Uncharted Territory

This approach makes some people nervous because the process may seem laborious and could perhaps slow down results when you just want things done. It takes some time to get used to finding room for many voices and opinions while remaining on track.

If it's new to your team, the process won't be perfect, nothing is, but fresh thinking doesn't survive in status quo so it is worth the effort. Let someone on the team facilitate the first few times - not the highest ranking member of the team - and take it slow. Keep things factual and don't make it personal. Your business will be a more collaborative atmosphere where employees can offer opinions and ideas are considered.

People and Profits

When we meet with a business leader who wants to improve the bottom line, it's usually much more than a revenue issue and it often begins with internal customer service. The relationships you build and nurture inside your business can represent 90% of your bottom line yet far too many companies view it as unimportant.

We work an average of 2,000 hours each year and that number is growing. Collaboration and communication remain critical building blocks for any leader who desires success. But you and I just talking about it won't make it happen.

Let's get to work!
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April 18, 2018

Invited Guests

A friend sent me this a few days ago. It was written by poet and theologian Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī six hundred years ago and the message is as valid today.

We all have struggles and stress; issues and challenges, and it's tough to see clearly at times but that is where we grow. It's been a challenging year for many I know, me included, on various fronts. The words of Rumi are worth reviewing.
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This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor
Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably,
he may be clearing you out for some new delight

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
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April 14, 2018

Perspective Can Be Changed

In her 2014 TEDTalk, Stella Young discussed inspiration in a frank, open and funny talk that may make you rethink your perspective.

Sadly, Stella passed away not long after her talk. Watch this and let her inspire you, even though she may have claimed it was not her purpose in life.


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April 11, 2018

More Stuff Doesn't Make Us Happy

If we want to invest in "the good life", where should we put our time and energy? Robert Waldinger outlines riveting data from a 75-year-long Harvard study of adult life that continues today. It seems clear; a happy life is not measured by a larger paycheck, more stuff, higher investments, or financial net worth.


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