Settling is stopping short.
To settle in is being content.
In either case, where you are may not be where you thought you'd be by now. It may not be where you want to be right now. And it may not be where you know you could be by now.
All of that can either paralyze you, or propel you. It can hold you back, or launch you forward. It can frustrate you or remind you.
Wait...remind you? Of what?
Your past may have played a part in your present, but it doesn't have to determine your future.
There isn't one of us, myself included, that doesn't need to hear this from time to time.
There is value in a little self-reflection, to provide new direction.
It's at those moments that we have to decide if we are going to feel sorry for ourselves, and start settling for less than our full potential. Or...take a deep breath, settle in, and see things from a fresh perspective.
Be fully present where you are, who you are with, with what you have.
And when you start moving forward, bring contentment along for the ride.
Stop settling today for what your past is lying to you about. Stop settling today for who others say you are. Stop settling because the obstacles in front of you seem like they are too big to take on.
To believe your past is your launching pad, because it was your learning ground. To believe who you are isn't determined by the the insecurities of others. To believe your future is what you make of the opportunities you leverage today.
And when you do...
Enjoy the contentment you find when you settle in, because you've committed to stop settling.
Have you ever found yourself stuck?
The kind of stuck that has you frustrated?
We've all been there.
Life throws us a curveball.
We were hoping to make contact, but then we swing and miss.
And after we swing, we realize the pitch wasn't as good as we first thought.
How do we respond in those moments?
The ones where it feels like there is a stadium full of people watching us strike out.
It's been said we can't hit what we don't swing at.
But I think we are missing out on some equally solid perspective.
We can't hit what isn't in the strike zone either.
If the pitch is high and tight, low and away, up and in...making contact is doubtful. And if it's a wild pitch or a pitch-out? Well, you get the point. We aren't getting on base swinging at offerings like that.
We aren't going to make progress by swinging at bad pitches.
I think sometimes we place so much value in putting our head down and pushing forward, that we miss the point. There is a more effective way to move forward. It requires more patience (that's not always easy). It requires more persistence to "foul-off" a few pitches that we aren't sure if they are strikes or not, just to keep the at-bat alive. But in the end, there is a common goal we are trying to reach.
Getting on base.
Listen...if you are finding the pitches aren't there today...stop swinging.
Stand in. Don't leave the batter's box. You can't get on if you aren't in the game.
Be patient. With a watchful eye, value the swings you don't take as important too.
And at the end of it...when enough bad pitches come?
Enjoy the moment when you can...
In the next blog, we'll talk about what to do once you're on base.
That's just as important.
Want to be more productive?
Here's a little trick to make sure we are ready to go, not on the sidelines...exhausted.
It all depends on what we choose to engage, activate, and launch every day.
Which way we flip the switch matters.
The direction that keeps us on point with who we are and why we exist is what we are looking for. That's a lights-on situation.
The one that tries to impress others, will exhaust us...because very simply put...it's tiring trying to be someone we are not. That's a lights-out, bad choice.
So think of a light switch today.
Every decision we make is like flipping a switch.
It'll brighten the room every time we choose ourselves.
It'll darken the room every time we try to be someone other than us.
Choose the activities and make the decisions that engage, activate, and launch the very best part of who you are today! The world needs it, and you deserve it!
Plus...it's no fun wandering around in the dark, bumping into stuff.
Have a GREAT day...and an AMAZING weekend!
You've been asked to do something incredibly important,
but fear it won't work out in the end?
You've been incredibly inconvenienced,
because this moment wasn't something you had planned for?
You've been confronted with an easy way out,
knowing full well it won't end well?
There will come a time in your life when you will come face to face with something of great importance. But that won't be the challenge. That is found in the fact that it will be inconvenient, unknown, and have a built in escape hatch if you want out.
You'll come face to face with a life altering decision.
And here is the rub…
It will likely not have as much to do with you as you think.
It will very likely have to do with your ability to effect positive change in the lives of others.
Are you ready for that?
Have you decided ahead of time how you will respond to that moment?
We will all face a "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN?" moment in our lives.
Maybe more than one.
So the next time you are feeling the weight of great importance and inconvenience,
think twice before you take the easy way out.
It's very likely a legacy moment for you.
It's very likely a game changer for those around you.
Don't say no to the challenge, because you don't know what will happen.
Perhaps it's time to double down,
and beat "logic"…
I remember the day well. It was in May of 2000. I drove her to a beautiful creek where I would "pop the question". I didn't want to give away where we were going. I wanted to surprise her. I blindfolded her for the ride, which almost turned out to be a disaster. Turns out that can evoke motion sickness. Luckily the drive wasn't too long.
When we arrived I asked her to take my arm and I began to lead her through a wooded and windy path to our destination. As we got closer you could hear music (I had planted it there ahead of time). It was Jim Brickman. That tends to get the romantic mood all taken care of.
At this point I proceeded to get on my knee in the middle of a creek rushing past our feet on a warm spring evening. I shared that from this moment forward I couldn't go forward without her. But I knew that the only way to guarantee that was to intentionally ask her to join me permanently on this journey we call life.
Thankfully she said yes, and a little over 14 years later life is good. Actually, better than I ever could have imagined. Three great kids, one incredible wife, and a life together as a family that I wouldn't trade for the world.
So why am I sharing this story with you?
Something hit me today.
The only way my story worked was because I was intentional
about asking one simple question.
Will you marry me?
It's a commitment thing. It's a once you do this, there is no going back. It's a you better be serious, because this is for keeps. It's all good…but it's also all-in!
Even though I wanted to be engaged to Cara, it wasn't going to happen accidentally.
I had to ask.
And the more I thought about that concept I see it applying
to many people in many other areas of life.
We want to be in better shape, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want to be better informed about an idea, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want to be in a healthy relationship, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want a better job, but we can't do it accidentally.
We want to pursue something that will change our life, but we can't do it accidentally.
And because we can't do any of these things accidentally,
we need to be real about them.
The only way we can deal with them is to
make the decision to intentionally act on them.
We have to "pop the question" to ourselves.
We have to move from just liking being married to the idea,
to being engaged to the process first.
When Cara said "yes", it started a process.
We began to make plans for our wedding.
We were moving forward, together, on a whole other level.
And it's the same for whatever it is in your life that you want to move forward with.
You'll need to make the commitment to be "engaged" today.
You'll need to understand engagement is a process.
And at the end of the day,
every decision you make will honor this commitment you've made.
And over time, at some point, you'll cement your commitment with an "I do".
We have a little saying, Cara and I, that comes out when I am overwhelmed at how blessed I am to be married to my best friend. Something will happen. It can be as simple as walking by her and seeing her face. It can be the result of something funny our kids do. Whatever triggers it, here is what happens…
I look at Cara and say this…
"Thanks for saying YES!"
At which point she will look at me with a smile and say…
"Thanks for asking".
You have to ask.
You can't get accidentally engaged.
Not to your spouse.
And not to your calling.
And one last thing. I talked a lot about great things that you may want to pursue. This works the same for things you may need to separate yourself from. If you are struggling with something, you can't accidentally give it weight in your life. You either choose to become engaged to it and the negative influence it has in your life, or you separate from it.
Just like you can't get accidentally engaged to great things in your life,
it works the same for negative things.
I hope this encourages you today.
Find the wrong things, and separate yourself from them.
Find the right things…
and get engaged.
Have you ever felt stuck?
I mean the good-ole' fashioned "paralysis by analysis" kind of stuck. If you have, then you are in some pretty good company. We've all been there.
"Paralysis by analysis" is the enemy of progress.
Don't give into it.
Plow through it…
with these 5 tips on how to choose well.
1. Leverage your past experiences: Turn around and stare the options you have in front of you. Ask yourself which ones will enable you to teach from your past experiences so that you multiply your future growth. Teach from what you know.
2. Leverage your current platform: Stop wishing you were someone else, with more contacts, followers or admirers. Start doing what you can, with what you have, where you are. Turn the door knob on the opportunity that allows you to be you, and walk away from the ones where you are trying to be someone else.
3. Double down on commitment: Walk towards the option that allows you to invest your efforts into what you believe in. No matter how attractive, resist the choice that has the potential to make you easily distracted.
4. Leverage your propensity to act: Something makes you want to get up everyday. What is it? Chase it. Do everything you can to make time for it. Any other door you choose is a combination of distraction from your calling and depletion of the energy you have to offer anything you put your effort into.
5. Go all in: Finally, choose the door that you will give 100% of who you are to. That doesn't mean you need to know all the answers now, just that you will give all you have ahead of time, to make it happen all the time.
These 5 things should make turning the right knob a little easier, so that the hard work of doing something meaningful is empowering…not exhausting.
Enjoy the journey, my friend!
Until next time,
Who wants to change?
What comes first?
Where do I start?
When do I just throw in the towel?
Why should I bother?
Do any of those questions sound familiar?
If so, congratulations…you are normal.
You are human. You get frustrated just like the rest of us. You have the urge to become less than 5 years old and bang your fists and feet off the ground in the world's most epic temper-tantrum.
I get it.
So let's do something about it, instead of regressing back to it.
I've identified 7 steps that will help you turn chaos into order. I am going to give you the 30,000 foot view of them today. In the coming days, I will dive deeper into each one, so that you have solid practical application on your side.
I coined a term that reminds me to keep it practical. If you have an idea that is long on theory and short on practical application, that's crap. In short? Craptical.
Let's avoid that.
Here are the 7 steps to turn chaos into order.
1. You've got to have a solid vision. You must bring things into the light so that you can determine if they belong or need to go.
2. You've got to create healthy boundaries. You must do this so that things that appear attractive don't become habits that are destructive.
3. You've got to create systems and structure. You must do this so that you can multiply your progress in a healthy environment.
4. You've got to be able to measure your progress. You must do this so that you know if where you are at this point will help you get to where you are called to go.
5. You've got to create teams. You must do this so that you primary purpose of multiplying has a solid base to grow from.
6. You've got to have the right leadership in place. You must HAVE this so that everyone in your organization knows who you are, why you exist, and how to get to your ultimate destination.
7. You've got to rest. You must do this because you need it. If God needed a day to rest, take the hint. Find a couch, a good book, a great movie…spend time with your family.
That's the 30,000 foot view.
I'll walk out more of the "how to" and why it's an absolute must that you do in the coming days.
In the meantime…
Go read yesterday's blog,
"How to fall in love with going to work…"
(Psst…it's right below this one.)
It'll get your mind on what matters most, so that this 7 step process can help you truly turn chaos into order.
One last thing…
If you haven't sensed it, this 7 step process isn't just for business. It's an organization thing. It'll change your life at work, sure. If you let it, it can change your life at home, church, where you volunteer, school, government and everywhere else as well.
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.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.