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.
We often measure success by our ability to accomplish something.
We'd do better to measure success based on serving someone.
Doing we can, with what we have, where we are.
That is an outcome worth looking at.
Honoring someone else's needs above our individual wants.
The opportunity we've been given to serve one another will always be greater than obsessing over the wins and losses trying to trump one another.
We can come up with all sorts of excuses why we "aren't able to".
And we'll end up missing out on the greatest opportunity of all...
To serve one another.
Have you ever heard this quote...
"Stand for something, or you will fall for anything." (-Rosa Parks)
Most of us have.
But that is usually where we leave it.
I was reminded of that this morning as I read a blog by Jessica Bealer, where she shared the rest of the quote...
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."
And then I did a little digging of my own. (Pun not intended...but amusing nonetheless).
According to Wikipedia, this is part of the definition of an Acorn...
"It usually contains a single seed (rarely two seeds), enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad. Acorns take between about 6 and 24 months (depending on the species) to mature."
This is what hit me.
And then I started thinking about how this applies
to building a team with a purpose.
Look at the three items I mentioned about the acorn. Ask yourself...honestly...if you have a plan in place to get the seed of who you are to become the oak tree you want to be as a team. If you aren't focused at the highest level, you'll fail to reach your intended and desired goals as a team. That isn't meant to scare you, but it should remind you...that without a plan that is clearly articulated day in and day out by every member of your team, you aren't implementing anything...you are hoping to get lucky.
The process of turning the single seed of an acorn into a massive oak tree requires the decision to be intentional. It requires that you care for the seed regularly, including protecting it from outside forces that could take it down. All of this so that one day it will stand as a reminder of it's influence on it's surroundings.
I'd encourage you to look at where you are today with your team.
Your heart is probably in the right place.
But unfortunately, heart alone doesn't get the job done.
I can walk out the door and toss an acorn in the ground,
and wait to see an oak tree pop up.
But it doesn't work that way.
Go spend 5 minutes reading THIS ARTICLE and you'll understand the real process required to prepare an acorn to be planted and nurtured to full maturity.
It works the same way when it comes to creating a successful team.
When you are done, sit down and ask yourself a couple of questions...
Is my organization just in love with ideation (thinking about it),
or busy doing the hard work of implementation (doing something to make it happen).
We all love the idea of becoming the oak tree. BUT...are we doing what is necessary to sow the seed that gets us there?
There is no shame in asking the hard questions, and getting the help to implement an actionable vision. There is, however, regret later if we don't do it now. That's just real life. Being able to say "no regrets" after the fact, starts with knowing we did everything we could before the fact.
I'm hopeful this post was a source of encouragement to you today.
Reach out to someone who knows how to help you through this process.
Your team needs you to lead at the highest level. Sometimes...part of leading, is leaning on someone else.
It starts with the commitment to reach out.
Some people will think you are nuts for asking.
That's when you know you are about to create something of significance.
"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground."
If you are leading the way, you are the one out in front. The very nature of being out in front means you won't have someone to follow. Learning how to be comfortably uncomfortable in this space is a must if you plan on longevity as a leader.
You'll see things others don't see, and get told they doesn't exist. Not because they don't, but because they can't see it...yet. If you are going to stop going after it, based on their doubt in it, you are giving up your ability to lead.
If you are wrestling with whether or not to move forward with something,
perhaps the best thing you can do is ask yourself this question.
Is the work you are doing worth the criticism doubt brings,
until the rest of the world see's the value in it?
If it is, carry on.
Go all in.
If it isn't, move on.
Find something that is.
We get one go around in this race called life.
The permanent impact of our work has to matter more
than the temporary discomfort of criticism.
There is tremendous power in not caring what you look like to a few,
so that you can lead at the highest level for many.
Embrace being comfortably uncomfortable.
The world needs more of you!
Today alone, I have been in contact with Universities that have the following titles on their leadership teams...
Director of Student Success & Retention
Director of First Year Programs
Director of Campus Life & First Year Experiences
VP of Student Success & Calling
Dean of Student Success & First Year Experience
Director of First Year Experience
When I hear these titles,
I can't help but get excited.
This is educational leadership at the highest level.
They are recognizing that the world of higher education is changing...
and doing everything they can to lead the way.
These titles tell me that campus leaders are willing to do whatever it takes to meet students where they are at. By doing so, they are walking with students on their journey, to get them where they are called to go.
It doesn't get any better than that!
It's an honor and a privilege to be part of that process.
The 2015-2016 academic year is going to be EPIC!
Buckle-up and enjoy the journey!!!
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.