Generational Blog

How far is your impact?

How far is your impact? The truth is, you may never know.

But of one thing you can be certain…YOU ARE MAKING AN IMPACT. The more important question becomes not, “how far does it reach?” but rather, “What kind of impact is it?”

What kind of impact do you make in the world around you? Is it good? Is it bad? Does it build others up or tear them down? Does it draw more people to you or push them away?

Every day, the choices you make with your actions and reactions, leave an impression on the people with whom you share that moment. You don’t always know who is sharing the moment with you either. I was once positively impacted by witnessing a man go out of his way to chase down a rogue shopping cart to prevent it from hitting someone’s car. When I say chase, I mean it. I saw him notice the cart begin its path. I saw him start to not bother with it (I wouldn’t have blamed him because it was pretty far away) and head to his car. Then I noticed his moment of decision where he turned back around and sprinted a good hundred yards to save the car in the nick of time. He didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t his cart. It wasn’t his car. But it WAS his choice…and it encouraged me. He had no idea that he had a positive impact on me. He had no idea I was even watching.

It is worth while to do the little things, even when you think no one is watching. The cart-chasing man not only impacted me, but now he is impacting you. The ripples of our choices can be extremely far reaching sometimes and we don’t even know it. Sometimes we find out quickly that we made an impression on someone. I recently read a story about two men. Man #1 was standing on the subway when Man #2 bumped into Man #1 while moving through the car. Man #1 said, “Excuse me” even though it wasn’t his fault. Man #2 rudely cursed at Man #1 and told him what he could go do to himself. Shortly after this incident, Man #1 arrived at work where he was a hiring manager. His first interview of the day was with Man #2.

Here is another story which I found here

“I went into a construction trailer one day to look for a job. Right when I walked in, the superintendent threw a piece of trash and missed the can. I picked it up, placed it in the can, and asked for work. Come to find out that he gave my name to another owner who hired me just because of that piece of trash.

I worked for him for ten years. Now, I have my own company.”

— Ken Beckstead, Cigarette Pollution Services

The good little things are worth doing. Not to get noticed or to get something in return, but to serve others as a good example. I am reminded of Gandhi’s quote,


“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


I have written this quote off many times as being too cliche. More recently, I have found myself leaning on it quite a bit. He definitely had a good idea.

Go out there today and do the little things.

Accountability and Awareness

Last week I talked about how truth must be reckoned with. Today, I want to expand on that some more because there are some other implications that go with it. Each of us is accountable for the truth that we become aware of.

I find myself in a period of growth. If you have ever experienced a time in your life when something just clicked and things that you had struggled with for a long time suddenly became easier, then you know what I’m talking about. For me, the thing that “clicked” was in regard to my understanding of ownership. Specifically, approaching the things in my life with an ownership mindset. Holding myself to a standard of performance that would only be expected of an owner. I had spent years with the wrong view of this concept and it tainted my ability to show up in my full potential.

Fast forward to today. It hasn’t been a very long time since this revelation occurred in my life but I am noticing some behavior patterns leaning toward the way they used to be. It would be easy to settle back into the old, familiar patterns. The problem is that I have become aware of truth that directly relates to this area of my life. As such, I am accountable for how I act on it.

Before I experienced this growth, I was already behind where I should have been in this area of my life and, while not free from blame, I can understand why I was behaving the way I was. Now I know a great deal more about what I should and should not do in this area. If I let myself slip back into the old patterns, I am no longer guilty of being immature in that area, I am guilty of willfully rejecting the truth of which I have become aware.

This is where intentionality comes into the picture. The euphoria of growth will wear off and you are left a new awareness, new expectations of yourself, and many of the same challenges as before. Create a question for yourself that you can ask in situations when you are tempted to slip back into old habits. I have started asking myself, “Is this ownership behavior?” It’s a short, simple question that helps me maintain the desired mindset and create opportunities for me to intentionally push through the moment with my desired behavior.

Be sure to acknowledge and label the truth that you are adopting and clearly identify how you want to act on it. Then you can create your control question that helps to ensure that you are intentionally acting in alignment with the truth.

Are there any truths in your life that demand action? Or are you stuck with results that are undesirable? Come check out how I can help.

Who or What?

This week’s quote is from a guy that everyone should know. He ran the country during the Civil War, brought about the end of slavery, and coined the phrase, “four score and seven years ago.” You guessed it, it’s good ol’ Honest Abe. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying,


“Whatever you are, be a good one.”


I like where he’s going with this quote. It falls along the same lines as, “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Or the biblical version that says, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Something that differs here, in Mr. Lincoln’s statement, is that he uses a very key word, “be.” There is a key difference between “being” and “doing”. It seems simple and obvious right? Doing is what you do and being is who you are. Simple…in theory.

If I asked you the question, “Who are you?” How would you answer? Most of us will answer by stating what we do for a living. I’m a teacher, a welder, a pilot, a pastor, a mom, a dad, an athlete, or (my personal favorite) I’m retired. These are not who you are. They are what you do. Any one of those can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. You can be fired from a job. Athletes get injured. Parents can (heaven forbid) lose their children. These are all great things to DO but they are not WHO YOU ARE.

Building off of yesterday’s post we are all made with a purpose that makes us uniquely capable of adding specific value to humanity. Identity is the label container that is used to express someone’s being. It’s a container which holds that purpose, that value, and the portion of humanity that is supposed to receive that value.

The purpose that I was made for is to instill a generational mindset into the current and future leaders of the world. I am a Generational Leader. Learn more about that here.

So, WHO are you? Do you know your purpose? Do you know whom you are to serve with that purpose? Do you know what specific value you can offer them?

I would like to note that it is never too late to discover this about yourself. And once you identify and declare this about yourself, it provides such wonderful clarity in navigating life’s many decisions. I like to use one simple question as the starting point for every decision. Will this make me more of who I am or less? If you would like help in discovering this about yourself, I would love to serve you in that capacity. Just let me know below.

Whoever you are, be great!

Who are YOU?


I’d like help declaring who I am.

 

Uniquely the same

On 16personalities.com they use a Meyers-Briggs personality type hybrid that uses 5 traits. Each of the 5 traits is a spectrum with a percentage value for the spot where you land. That means that there are 100 possible options for each of the 5 traits. The result is 10 billion unique personality types that are possible. There are around 7 billion people in the world. Each trait is measured more simply as being dominant in one direction or the other which results in the need for fewer explanations of the results that you get. This is an example of the common ground that we can find while still being unique.

Even if people are more same than different, each of us is unique. As such, we each have something different to offer the other members of humanity. Furthermore, that which we have to offer is also of value. The degree of sameness that we all share is simply the means by which we can connect to other humans for the opportunity to share our unique offering with them and they with us.

One thing that I have seen happen time and again is for society to emphasize the importance of one thing at the expense of another. We seem to be an “OR” society instead of an “AND” society. If I talk about uniqueness and fitting in, most will look at those two things as diametrically opposed. If you are one of those, let me challenge you with this. Can you be unique while still fitting in? Can you fit in while still being unique? I say yes. You see, the fitting in is where you connect with people on common ground. We all seek the joy of community. The uniqueness is where you have the opportunity to something of value to those people with whom you have connected. We all seek to understand our sense of self.

If you live with an “OR” mentality, you either achieve clarity of self at the expense of being able to connect with others OR you achieve a connection with others at the expense of adding value. In essence, you can only mature one side of each of your dichotomies at a time because OR always favors one at the expense of another.

If you live with an “AND” mentality, you have the opportunity to develop both sides because they no longer have a dichotomous relationship. Instead, they have a symbiotic relationship. Each builds up the other. The success of one is vital to the success of the other.

Now you see how you can be unique AND the same and that each can make the other better. Now it’s time to start really digging in to what makes you unique. What is that one-of-a-kind piece of who you are that can leverage your sameness to add value to your community?

*Note – if you enjoy reading these posts, please comment to share your thoughts and also share the post so others can see it too. Thanks!

The reckoning

I’m going to share something that I have known for a long time but was only recently able to articulate in a good way.


Truth must be reckoned with.


Take a minute to think about that.

When you become aware of something that is true, you are instantly responsible for acting on that truth. Right now, you are testing this in your mind. You might be instantly drawn to circumstances that prove this right or you might be searching for situations where this is wrong…but you’re testing, because this is true.

There are two main options for how you can act upon a truth you just learned. You can adopt it or you can ignore it. There are two primary reason why people ignore a truth of which they have become aware. The first is denial. Sometimes truth is hard to bear and some people aren’t willing to bear it so they deny the truth and ignore it. The second is relevance. There are times when the truth is not currently relevant to us. For example, Lake Michigan has 13,000,000,000,000,000 (13 quadrillion) gallons of water. This truth is irrelevant to me right now. However, gravity is a truth that is very relevant to me. If I choose to ignore gravity, I do so at my own peril.

So, this is a little over-simplified. There are plenty of times where this dichotomy is much more complex. It is true that if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Conversely, if you want to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume.

Adopting truth can be very difficult. I have spent years knowing full well that my eating habits and lack of exercise were keeping me at a weight that I was dissatisfied with. Yet I did not change. I ignored it and struggled. I was aware but not intentional.

The most important thing that partners with awareness is intentionality. It is important to intentionally consider your awareness. Look beyond the moment. If you find that you are consistently dissatisfied with the results that you’re getting, you are going to have to change your behaviors. In that moment when someone lets you down, and you are choosing between anger or kindness, it can be very difficult to see beyond the moment. Creating a habit of intentionality equips you to slow down in each moment and act instead of react. Maybe anger is your default and you feel guilty every time you react angrily. Slowing down and intentionally looking beyond the moment to the aftermath, allows you to consider how you feel each time you react in anger and gives you the chance to choose better.

So what truth are you struggling with? Is it something with your health, relationships, or work? Are there results that you keep getting that you don’t like? Perhaps there is truth there that needs to be discovered.

Reflection Friday

They say that experience is the best teacher. There is also a saying that says, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We have all seen and, dare I say, participated in that definition of insanity, haven’t we? For example, most of us have looked in the mirror at least once and thought, “I wish I was in better shape or thinner,” and then we go off and eat a giant greasy meal with dessert that has the daily calorie allowance for a rhino…day after day.

Another thing that many of us can relate to are times when we got great results one time and were unable to repeat those results in the future. At the very least, we may have ended up with inconsistent results and not known why.

So if experience is the best teacher, why do so many of us struggle in this cycle of insanity? Is it because even the best teacher sometimes can’t teach the worst student? Maybe. Or perhaps the more likely thing is that experience alone is not the teacher but rather what we do with that experience is.

Try this, “Experience, reflected upon, is the best teacher.” Now we’re cookin’ with gas. You see, when we take the time to sit and think about our experience and how our choices and actions affect our results, it is then that we begin to make the necessary cause and effect correlations. From these, we learn what works and what doesn’t and can intentionally repeat desired behaviors and abolish the negative ones.

So take a minute each day to think back on what worked and what didn’t in your day. This will help you get an idea for what you want to try tomorrow. Hopefully not the same thing if you didn’t get the results you want.

Thankful Thursday

If retailers can have “Black Friday” anytime they want, then I can have Thanksgiving anytime I want. Right?

Well, I’m not here for the turkey. Being thankful is something that we should all practice continually. Like, every single day. Aside from the personal benefits that being grateful can have, there are some pretty amazing leadership implications.

In one of my previous posts, I talked about the Principle of Progress and the Principle of Morale, both of which talk about the importance of celebrating success. Did you know, that one of the simplest ways to celebrate someone is to say, “Thank you”? That expression of gratitude can carry with it acknowledgement of value added, affirmation of a job well done, and a relational deposit that is real. This is what great leaders do. They build people up, affirm them, and connect in very real ways.

Gratitude does not only need to be expressed to or about people. Being thankful for circumstances in your life can alter your perception of them in a very powerful way. I heard Aubrey Marcus say something on the Tim Ferriss Show the other day. It was something along the lines of ~”Once you can see how the hardships of your life can add value to others, you can be grateful for them rather than resentful.” This is not a direct quote, I am paraphrasing from memory. The reality is that everything that you have done, encountered, accomplished, failed at, won, lost, experienced, or passed up has led you to where you are right now. If you add value to others in any way, you can be thankful for your journey because it shaped you to help in the way you do. If you feel like you don’t add any value to anyone, or maybe you feel “unqualified” to help others, then you just need to look a little harder and become thankful for who you are. Everyone has something to offer humanity, even if it is just an example of what not to do. I know that sounds harsh, but take the following example:

Catch me

Frank Abagnale Jr, the subject of the movie “Catch Me If You Can”, was a criminal that committed innumerable counts of fraud and spent several years of his life in prisons. He could have had a hard time working legitimately if he had tried to push his past under the rug and hide his failure. Instead, he decided to share his methods with banks in order to help them protect themselves from the very kinds of fraud that he once committed. He turned his negative past around and started using it to add value to others and now has a successful security consulting firm.

I am growing to become more grateful of my past and current circumstances and it is helping me to see how I can use my experience to make a difference in the lives of others.

How about you?

Success or Value?

Albert Einstein said,

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

I love this quote because it forces me to put being successful and being of value on opposite ends of the spectrum. Then I evaluate why it is right to do so.

The way I see it, striving to be a success is focused on self. Do others view me as a success? This is the kind of thinking that will drive someone to become a people pleasing sycophant. It is a trap that captures people in a behavioral cycle that anchors all of their self-worth on the opinion of others. That is a very unpleasant roller coaster.

On the other end, striving to be of value is something that focuses one’s energy on serving others. When people can focus on adding value to others, it causes them to look for needs that need to be met. This thinking acknowledges the inherent value of everyone as worthy to be served. Self-worth is a byproduct serving others.

The interesting thing is that when someone strives to be of value, success will follow. Success is one of those things that the more you go after it, the harder it is to achieve. Real success is a byproduct of adding value to others.

As I think through this idea, I stop seeing the two things as opposites, but rather one is a prerequisite to the other.

What do you think?

The Two ‘M’s of Improving Attitude and Culture

Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets improved.” I agree with Mr. Drucker and I think there’s more. I have studied a school of thought called Organization Ontologics (O2) in which I learned the Principle of Progress. It goes like this:


“What you monitor, people do. What you measure, people improve. What you celebrate, people become. You can’t celebrate what you haven’t measured and you can’t measure what you haven’t monitored so be careful what you monitor because that’s what people will become.”

 


What does this have to do with attitudes or culture? The first “M” of improving attitude and culture is ‘Monitor’. The best way to monitor behavior is to model it. From a culture perspective, if you monitor that which you do not model, you build a culture of hypocrisy and resentment. There does not need to be perfection in modeling a desired behavior or attitude. Perhaps you would like to grow your culture and add something new. As long as leaders model the process of learning the new thing, they can maintain that positive growth. Just like parenting, if we had to be perfect at everything we expect our kids to do, not a single person would be qualified to be a parent. But, modeling a learning attitude and a growth mindset gives the leader the opportunity to build a camaraderie with those they lead because they are sharing the journey.

Now, I’ve kind of beaten around the bush a little so that I didn’t get to Morale too soon. The second “M” is ‘Morale’. The inconsistency in what is monitored vs what is modeled will damage morale. There is another principle from O2 that I have learned called the Principle of Morale. It goes like this:


“There are 3 reasons to evaluate someone’s performance. The first is to celebrate their success. The second is to improve the system in which they operate. And the third is to hold them accountable for their commitments. If you break this order, you damage morale.”


If you haven’t asked someone to commit, the first way to improve the system in which they operate is to ask for the appropriate commitments.

Morale is the confidence, enthusiasm, or discipline of a group at a given time. It is the attitude of your organization. Attitude determines behavior.

I have put all of this in the context of an organization. Let’s make it personal. From a personal perspective, you improve attitude with the same tools; Modeling and Morale. When improving your own attitude, you need to find a model and follow the principle of morale. When teaching someone else to improve their attitude, you become the model and follow the principle of morale.

Mindful Monday

Mindfulness. This topic could go in several different directions from kooky to practical. For me, mindful is a word that encompasses to key things; awareness and intentionality.

Awareness is how much you have perceived and to what degree you have perceived it. Intentionality is how you act as a result of the accumulated awareness that you have achieved. As you become more aware of things, you have the opportunity to increase how intentionally you interact with that which you have become more aware. I know this is a bit abstract, so let’s put it in an over-simplified context that makes sense.

You’re standing in a field of grass. Someone else is standing a small distance away. They throw a ball to you. It’s heading your way and you do nothing. The ball hits you in the face, your nose bleeds, you curl up in the fetal position and cry like a tiny baby. You have just increase your awareness about what happens when a ball is thrown at your face. You now have the opportunity to interact with that more intentionally. The next time a ball is thrown in your direction, you can either get out of the way or catch it.

This week, I achieved a new degree of awareness regarding ownership in the context of applying life force to accomplish work. I have a great capacity to do work with an owner mindset. I have done so in many of my previous jobs. Unfortunately, I suffered from a shortage of awareness of some key factors. When I personally worked with an owner mindset, I would have the whole business in mind and act accordingly. I was able to anticipate needs and work proactively. All great things. The disconnect came when I had expectations of my own. I expected that since I behaved as an owner, I should have a high degree of authority and influence to go with it. When I didn’t get that, I would become discouraged or embittered.

My new awareness about ownership came when I was able to articulate what ownership is and what it is not. Here’s the summary, I can take ownership; hold or be held responsible; give or be given authority. When you approach work with an owner mindset, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be held responsible at that level. It means that you are choosing to be aware of a larger context than the context in which your tasks exist. This allows you to anticipate needs and work proactively. It also doesn’t mean that you automatically have the level of authority to match the level at which you are taking ownership.

With this new awareness, I can intentionally approach all aspects of my life with an owner mindset (which allows me to add optimal value) and not become disillusioned with expectations that I am going to be wielding a bunch of authority or getting any extra recognition for the work that I’m expected to do. This has been very freeing and I’m experiencing a great deal more satisfaction in the work that I do and a great deal more confidence in deciding what I will and will not choose to commit to doing. I am also able to better manage everyone’s expectations.