So, I was watching this commercial this morning… This group of guys went to Las Vegas and decided to live it up. The way they did it is to pretend they won the Stanley Cup or some other championship. They grabbed a plant-holder from the hotel lobby and toted it around to all sorts of clubs and venues, getting everyone to celebrate their mock success. People held the “cup” and danced, and the guys lived large, until they, exhausted, went back to their hotel, put the plants back in the plant-holder and went to bed.
The lesson from the commercial can be pertinent for you today: you can make every moment into something bigger than it is. I don’t mean to be a drama king/queen. Instead, you can take the ordinary routines and tasks and relational interactions and turn them one notch closer to extraordinary.
“Extraordinary” can be the specific, personal praise/encouragement you give a colleague or family member. It can be getting your typical tasks done with more flair or more speed. It can be the creative ideas you use to transform a boring staff meeting. It can be setting a goal so high that it motivates you to see if you can attain it.
Don’t settle for ordinary routines and ruts. Ramp it up with “just a little bit extra”, and you will be more appreciated for the zest you add to others’ lives–and your own.
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When walking/hiking, are you the kind of person who looks down a lot, watching your step to avoid tripping, and missing the scenery around you? Or are you the type that looks around and notices everything, savoring the details of God’s creation or what’s new and noteworthy to compliment? Sadly, I tend to do a little more of the former than the latter.
Here’s the challenge: Don’t be so absorbed with what is right in front of you, that you miss out on the enjoyment of what you are headed toward. If we aren’t careful, we gravitate toward myopia (my problems, my issues, my schedule…). First of all, this makes us succumb to selfishness, and second, we cannot be truly aware of the needs around us that we can do something about.
So, look up. Eyes forward. Eagerly anticipate what is around the next bend in the road, or what you are supposed to learn from this current circumstance. Set some goals for the year ahead so that you practice expansive thinking. Be a “noticer.” Life will go from black and white to color pretty quickly.
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I really dislike being late for any appointment or activity. I like to arrive a little early to get the lay of the land, allow my brain to transition from the last thing I was doing to this thing (to be fully present), and make a connection or two with those around me.
But there are many, many people (and myself, on occasion) that seem to be OK with arriving late. So, I pondered: why wouldn’t we all want that peaceful state that I described above? Why do we not plan ahead of the time we know we must leave for an activity or appointment in order to get their on time or early? Why do we do that “one more thing” instead of getting in the car or heading down the hallway to the conference room?
I think it’s not enough respect for the people we are meeting. John Maxwell says that we need to put a “10” on everyone’s foreheads, giving them super-high value, not making them earn 9 ranks by starting them at a “1” when we meet them for the first time, or for the first time that day.
If we were to meet someone who could change our life (like a surgeon or a dignitary or venture capitalist), would we be late for that appointment? Probably not. Why? Because we have assigned them very high value and don’t want to look foolish by de-valuing them by our tardiness. So, why are we OK with making others wait–people who planned out their time to make meeting with us a priority? They assigned our time together valuable.
This is not meant to be judgmental–but instead a challenge. Raise your respect and honor in your heart for those you are scheduled to meet with, and see if that makes a difference in your planning for greeting them on time, and also in your expectancy of what will happen by that relational connection. And when you are unavoidably late or haven’t raised their value to the appropriate level, apologize profusely, making it a point to not do it again, and somehow add value back to them in another way.
Let’s change the culture! Oops, gotta run take my son to lunch to Be On Time!
The title of this post is a quote from Roosevelt that comes from a Facebook graphic that I saw the other day, and it reminded me of one of my favorite bloggers Seth Godin. Seth’s continual messages are Pick Yourself and Ship Something and Poke the Box.
Pick Yourself means that you don’t have to wait for permission all the time to start an initiative or begin working on an idea that could go big. We find excuses not to make a bigger difference at work or in the world because we blame the forces holding us down (preachin’ at myself here!). But, usually, there is no one stopping you but YOU. Why not you?
Ship Something means that you can talk a good game about all the great dreams you have, all the exciting ideas that could turn into something that will catch fire. But at the end of the day, unless you put pen to paper, or paint to easel, or blog into cyberspace, it remains just a dream–which is deflating, not inspiring. Just start, and then Just finish!
Seth also says to Poke the Box–just put something into play and then see what happens, and make adjustments (iterate) to respond to what you discover. Standing still will not get you anywhere (unless it’s briefly to recharge your batteries to avoid burnout). You must try something, and your world will open up–you will meet a key person who can push you forward–your pursuit will get more clarity and traction. Initiate action!
If you need assistance pushing through your obstacles, contact me for a free breakthrough strategies session. That’s what coaches are for! firstname.lastname@example.org
Scrimmages were the best part of practices for sports when growing up. You didn’t have to do drills, but you got to play a simulated game against your teammates–which was way more fun! But when the coach would say today would be a “controlled scrimmage,” it wasn’t quite as fun, yet way more beneficial to our development in the sport.
Controlled scrimmages were when the coach would blow the whistle and stop the scrimmage at any time he wanted to evaluate what just happened so that we could do it differently next time–and better–leading to winning results.
Think of your life as a controlled scrimmage. If you take the time to stop (blow the whistle on your life) and evaluate how the day went, at its end, you can determine what to repeat for successful outcomes, and what must change tomorrow for a better chance at results.
You can evaluate after every event, every project, every season of your life, at work and at home. Anything worth doing is worth evaluating, says Andy Stanley. Without a perspective of evaluation, you will keep running drills without much thought as to whether they are getting you to your goals, or you’ll just keep making the same errors in the games (one sign of insanity?).
And a coach (life/strategies coach) can be that objective outside source that can process your life and self-leadership with you so that you are more successful. Time to shoot me an email and sign up for a free strategy session? email@example.com
I was in traffic today on the freeway and was approaching my exit. It’s one of those that has cars merging on and merging off in the same 75 yards or so. A car cut in from my left, trying to get over to exit, putting his turn signal on at the last minute. I braked and let him in. At the same time a car approached at high speed from the on-ramp to squeeze in front of me with blinker on. I again backed off and let her in.
At that moment, a life lesson hit me. I have been very intentional this year with allowing people to merge with my life. I could try to speed up and keep them out, making them fall in behind my selfish leadership, but I have found this to just make them irritated as they stare with disdain at my bumper.
Allowing people to merge with your life means to be a good listener, keeping an open mind to others’ perspectives, and often deferring to their wisdom that is better than mine. To be a learner. To be unhurried in the process of life. To make someone’s day who is seeking my attention to their need.
I didn’t feel any stress as I pulled onto the off-ramp today after letting the two mergers into my lane, and I think I will continue to be grateful for the merger friends and acquaintances that God brings into my lane of life who teach me something valuable for my journey.
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I was at a communication seminar last year, where the presenter was encouraging open communication, as opposed to closed communication. Open communication meant that a person was transparent with information about work projects and decisions, but also about one’s self and life. They “got things out on the table.” Closed communicators held information close to the chest, built walls around themselves, and made those around them guess/surmise about what they were thinking. There was an uncomfortable aloofness about them.
Openness is a great character trait and is a very healthy style of interaction with others. People who display openness attract others to their leadership and have an easier time building trust. Friends gravitate toward them because there is a humanness about them that makes others feel comfortable.
Of course, everyone needs boundaries, which determine how much of one’s self goes out to the world, but if you have to err on the side of open or closed, I would recommend being that direct communicator who shows humble vulnerability–and you will reap rewards in relationships!