We've all heard the phrase…
"Here's my two cents".
I was spending some time in study and personal reflection earlier today
and I stumbled into something.
Look at this word:
Does anything in particular jump out to you?
Here is what I saw earlier today:
And here is what stuck with me:
There is a COST in our CALLING.
And the only way we can experience success is clear:
We must be consistent.
We must stay the course.
Even when it's hard.
Even when it seems like no one notices the work we do.
Even when the hours are long, and the reward a long way off.
Embracing the cost in our calling breeds consistency.
And consistency breeds success.
That's my two cents on…
you will know WHAT to do.
Take 3 minutes and 37 seconds and watch this video clip.
The smallest act can lead to the greatest opportunity.
As you start another week, let's put this quote from Steve Jobs in perspective. I want you to think about it from two points of view.
1. When you commit to being that "yardstick of quality" you have the opportunity to make someone else's day incredibly better. They aren't used to excellence finding a way into their life, and you get to do just that. Wherever you work, whatever you do…every ounce of your output directly impacts a customer's interaction with it. Why not "delightfully surprise" them with an incredible experience? Just because you can.
2. When you commit to being that "yardstick of quality" you have the opportunity to honor your employer. Yes, I realize that this one can be hard sometimes. But the fact is, you have a job…and doing anything less than your absolute best doesn't just cheat your employer out of what they are investing in you. Hear me when I say this next part. It cheats you out of becoming the best possible version of you, too. Some days are hard. Some are easy. But excellence isn't measured based on circumstances.
Doing excellent work every minute of every day is a habit you develop. And it becomes more a part of who you are when you realize it's not just about what you want to do…
but what you get to do everyday.
Start your week with this thought…and let it inform your approach to work.
You don't have to go to work…
you get to go to work.
Now go crush it.
Make someone's day run straight into your excellence!
Fair warning…you are going to find out that it's addicting to crush your work everyday with excellence.
Have a GREAT start to your week!
One of our greatest assets can also bring on some of our most unwanted setbacks.
It all starts with one word.
When what we think becomes the single most important element in our world, we've essentially stepped into our very own…
We "grab the microphone" and proceed to share (aka…preach) why we are right, and others are wrong. We've convinced ourselves that the other side of the issue is out of touch, uneducated and detached from reality.
And somewhere along the line it happens.
A team that was clicking on all cylinders starts to feel unsettled. Tension replaces calm. Drama shows up early and stays late. Gossip, infighting and rumors are standard issue.
Now…I'm not saying that just because you have an opinion that you shouldn't share it. But here is one way you can safeguard against your opinion becoming a stick of emotional dynamite.
Be willing to share your opinion freely while letting everyone know you aren't married to it if it affects your team's ability to stay focused on the organization's vision.
Stop preaching preference.
Preaching personal preference can destroy your team's performance.
Share your thoughts. Just be careful it isn't at the expense of your team's progress. Be passionate about what you bring to the table. Just be ready to let your view hit the cutting room floor if it needs to.
Tune in. Listening twice as often as you speak will allow you to hear with clarity what your team is sharing, while still bringing the incredible value inside your heart to the journey.
Enjoy the journey.
Enjoy your team.
There is no better feeling than arriving at the destination you were trying to get to, with the people you care the most about with you. And that only happens when you share the stage, not hog the pulpit.
Seeing yourself for the first time all over again.
It's likely something you've thought about. It's also likely that you dismissed that thought just as fast as it came, thinking it's not really possible.
If we are honest we just want the cash register to ring. We want to pick up a ringing phone and hear a donor on the other end pledging money to our cause. We want to check our online orders in the morning and see that "HUGE" order that happened over night from half way around the world.
That's all so very normal.
My encouragement to you today is to suspend the desire to see what we call "destination points" (transactions, donations and orders)…long enough to experience your brand for the first time all over again.
Look at the image in this post.
Slowly. Really take it in. How many people do you think actually line up two coffee mugs in a cafe and peer through them like they are a pair of retro frames of clarity? Probably not too many, right?
But the analogy hits home, doesn't it?
It's the perspective. It's seeing you, your organization, and your team through the lens of someone experiencing you for the first time.
Here are 5 ways you can do that right now…
1. Find one thing you've "meant to change" near your entrance and change it. Bring a visual appeal and experience that causes someone to pause, brings a smile to their face, and makes them want to reach for your door handle to see what else might be behind that one simple expression of joy.
2. Be intentional about affirming every team member you interact with. Don't mean to. Don't just think it. Don't wonder how they will respond to it. Be specific and intentional about letting them know how much they mean to your team. Say it!
3. Instead of asking someone "can I help you find something?" when they walk in, simply let them know how excited you are that they made the time to visit. They are after all a person, not a wallet. Treat them as such. Honor them for the relationship you hope to develop over time rather than just an order today.
4. Find a way to pick up some slack for a team member. Look early, often and consistently. It won't be hard to spot. Someone is likely having a hard day and you are the one that can relieve some of that pressure. You've got to fight to make sure your place of work is somewhere a team member WANTS to go to everyday…not HAS to go to.
5. As a leader it is going to be incredibly tempting to just "delegate" orders. Don't do it. Create opportunities that will be a reason to celebrate as a team when they are done. Be a leader of influence that excites and empowers, rather than a "boss" that tells them what to do.
If you'll embrace those 5 things,
you'll see your experience completely different than you ever have.
What happens if you don't?
If you ignore them? This is what you sound, look and feel like to your team and any customer/client that interacts with you…
You make excuses. I mean, you have the best of intentions…it's just stuff needed to get done because we needed more transactions, more orders. At the end of the day it's about you and your team knows it. They see you as an authoritative figure head that needs to tell others what to do.
It could look like this.
You are a decision maker. You are intentional about doing whatever you can to build relationships with your team and the potential customers/clients you have the honor of interacting with. Your efforts are outward facing because you'd sacrifice anything to make sure your team matters more than your personal preference. And as a result? Everyone sees you as a leader of influence that has created an incredible experience people want to be a part of.
It'll feel like the first day again. The joy. The butterflies. The expectation of incredible moments. Both for your team and for those coming to see you.
Every. Single. Day.
That is how you'll be able to…
see yourself for the first time again.
We've all been there before.
We were excited because we thought we were "in the lead".
And just when we were ready to raise our arms in victory,
it hits us.
We didn't win anything, our competition did.
Speaking from personal experience we tend to find ourselves here when we are preoccupied with beating someone else out rather than winning the race we were supposed to be running.
We become distracted, desensitized and otherwise numb to the realization that we didn't run OUR race.
We were running not to lose, rather than to win.
Losing a race the right way is more beneficial to winning it the wrong way.
It's in that moment that we have to step back and realize who we are, who the "almost client" was, and admit we let our obsession with beating the competition determine our approach to earning the business.
An obsession with beating your competition is about a transaction. A commitment to a mutually beneficial end with a client is about building a healthy relationship with them.
And if that client is simply lining you and every one of your competitors up like punching bags at a gym, you've got a decision to make.
Am I going to let them knock me around (on price, offerings, etc…) or will I simply step aside and remove myself from a game I'm not interested in being a part of anyway?
Here is the reality…
If they are going to beat on you today, they will continue to throughout your contract…and most especially when they feel they can get a better "deal" later.
You don't need that headache.
It's just a transaction. It will take twice as much time, energy and resources and earn you half as much satisfaction and revenue.
Stand firm on who you are, why you exist and what you bring to the table. That is the value that stands up under tough times. That is the value known as a relationship. Anything less is an auction for your services that they will happily dump if they think they can find the same thing…cheaper.
Run your race today.
Not your competitors. Not someone else's version of yours.
Be sure you are looking at the right screen so you can see where you really are.
And if you find yourself in a race you don't belong in?
Graciously step aside and go win the one you were called to run.
Our addiction to excuses will be our greatest limitation to progress. The 19 year old in the following video refuses to embrace the "I'm too young" and "I don't have the experience" ones…and instead is changing the world.
When you reached up to turn on your "open" sign, why did you do it? What was the motivation behind your action(s).
What are you "open" for, today?
Open to simply going through the motions of another day?
Open to hoping a customer will walk through the door?
Open to turning on the "Open" sign and, well…that's it.
When we fall into the routine of seeing our day as a string of transactions, we miss our greatest opportunity to make a difference in the world we've been blessed to live in.
Wherever you are today, whatever it is that you do…I would challenge you to think about your day from a different perspective.
Rather than transactions needed to stay in business, keep your eyes open for opportunities to honor the relationships around you.
It's the difference between going to work because you "have to" and because you "get to". The "have to" mentality counts dollars, hours and minutes. The "get to" side values relationships, a customer's experience and honoring them for who they are, not what they mean to your bottom line.
If you stay open to the latter, you'd be surprised how differently you see that "open" sign in the morning when you get to work.
"How will I know if it's meant to be?"
When you are serious about it. And serious requires sacrifice. Without it, you aren't committed to anything but liking the idea of what could happen. Sacrifice is the first step to committing yourself to making it actually happen.
Will it be easy?
Absolutely not. But that's an indication that what you are about to do is worth your time. If it were easy someone else would have done it already. Going first is an outward expression of the inward vision you have as a leader. It's your responsibility.
Take inventory of where you are and where you want to go.
There is at least one thing that needs to be left behind so that you have the flexibility, agility and adaptability to the necessary next steps…to change…for the sake of progress.
There is something really unique about sacrifice and leadership.
Once those around you see the sacrifice(s) you are making for your team, you will be rewarded with the same response from them.
Funny how that works, isn't it?
That's how you will know if it was meant to be.
When you commit to sacrifice what was holding you back it creates an excitement about your vision.
And when that vision becomes so positively infectious, people will follow you.
Positive. Meaningful. Leadership.
Before you spend another penny on "advertising", go watch this BRILLIANT clip of the video, "The Naked Brand",
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.