Ambivalence is the barrier to excellence.
Make the intentional decision to commit to your vision,
or you'll end up frustrated unable to make a good decision.
As you start your week, focus on your filter.
Who you are.
Why you exist.
What you believe.
How you do what you do.
Anything else is a hurdle you don't need to jump over,
in a race you shouldn't be running in anyway.
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!
Passion: If you aren't bleeding the vision of your organization, how can you expect anyone on your team to? Actually…I once heard it said that "the leader has to hemorrhage in order for the people that follow to bleed". Sounds kinda gross…but makes a great point. You can't sit back and send your team to the front lines to fight for you all day as you sit in your silk robe in a castle far away. Roll your sleeves up…teach them, speak into them, go with them…show them the way.
Patience: There will be days when it feels like you are on a treadmill instead of an actual run where you can see progress. Everything seems stationary at best. If you lose your noodle in frustration in this moment, you'll lose your people in indifference soon. Instead, realize that the "treadmill days" are still doing something very important. They are creating a culture of endurance. Even though you can't see progress today, you are preparing people who are willing to keep running anyway. That is a culture that will be ready for a marathon on a moments notice.
Persistence: This is beyond treadmill time. This is when the treadmill is broken, coffee pot breaks, half your team is late and the other half is playing candy crush on their phones. If you get to this point, it's time to hit mental rewind as the leader. Go back to day one and ask yourself "WHY did I start this?" Not in a pity party kind of way, but in an honest, heart-level look at your purpose. Once you've dialed into that, go back to leading with passion and preparing to be persistent to do whatever you need to do to get your team back on track.
These 3 leadership reminders aren't magic fairy tale dust. Leading always requires hard work, consistency, transparency, authenticity, and a willingness above all else to be teachable.
Grab on to these 3 things as a quick mental exercise to see if where you are, is where you should be. If it is, way to go! Keep at it! If not, now you've got a little nudge to take care of what needs to be fixed. Get at it!
As always…thanks for stopping by! It's always humbling to know you chose to be here. I appreciate your time, and wish you all the best as you lead your team…wherever you may be!
One step at a time = #progress
Even if you take three forward, and two back…you are moving forward. There will be days will when you crush it, and days when you feel crushed. But if you are committed to trying something each day to take a step forward, you will find yourself making progress.
Progress over time = #momentum
You'll eventually look up and see things changing around you. The energy you expended to move forward one step will now get you three. What seemed so hard when you started has become much easier. Think about it, lift 10 lbs. today and everyday for a month. Next month not only will it feel easier…you'll find yourself smack in the middle of momentum as you crave, pick up and crush heavier ones.
Momentum all the time = #leverage
Living in this space gives you choices. It allows you to have the options you've always wanted, because you've done the hard work you previously wouldn't. You feel better about you, and people feel more confident in you. That gives you what you need to have conversations that effect change. There is a word for that. Leverage.
Use your leverage to lead well, and teach others to get where you are now. There is an amazing sense of accomplishment as you bring others with you and
set your team up to make progress, build momentum and create leverage.
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.
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.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.