I’m talking to you

Yeah, you. If you are reading this post right now, then you have been brought to this moment through your choices and mine. Out of 7 billion people in the world, you and I have made it to right here, right now…for a reason. That reason will be one or more of the following three things:

  1. For you to be encouraged by bumping into some truth that you already know but needed affirmation that someone out there shares your belief
  2. For you to be encouraged by learning a truth that you needed to know
  3. For me to be encouraged by you showing up in whatever way you are intended

I believe that, through this post, I will serve many. I hope that I will have the opportunity to connect with each of you to learn how I served you. The third one is fulfilled just by you reading this and I hope to also connect with you.

This morning, I watched this video by John Maxwell. This is a daily practice. I watch “Minute with Maxwell” every day because I want to learn from the most influential teacher of leadership principles in the world. In this video, he asks the question, “What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received and who was it from?”

I pondered, and here is my answer. Just like John, my advice, or lesson is probably more accurate, comes from my dad. When you are overwhelmed, stop and review everything you know. Stay with me here. The state of being overwhelmed is such that we begin questioning everything. We doubt. We are unsure. We wonder if anything we ever knew was right. So when I say, “Review everything you know,” that list is significantly shorter during overwhelm than it would be otherwise. So this is not such a large task as it might sound.

Depending on the degree of overwhelm that you are experiencing, you will start at different places. I have been SO overwhelmed at times that I had to start with, “I know that I am alive.” Other times it wasn’t so bad and I can begin with what I know about a particular situation as opposed to an existential list. Either way, it works. So let me share with you some things that I know and maybe this can be a list that you use when you are overwhelmed.  In no particular order:

  • There is an intelligent designer (I call him God) and he designed you for a purpose. According to that design;
    • There are things that you love to do (probably a short list)
    • There are things that you are good at doing (probably a longer list than you realize)
    • There are people in this world that you care about deeply (very short list – if not, you are being too specific)
    • Those people have a need that you can meet (same as previous)
    • The purpose for which you were designed can be found where the preceding four things intersect
  • You have thoughts. Day in and day out, those thoughts shape who you are. This is a fact and true for every human. You are what you do repeatedly, and this includes thinking!
    • If your ever-present thoughts are shaping who you are, it stands to reason that if you choose which thoughts you have, you can choose who you are shaping yourself to become.
  • Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Some people use it productively and wisely. Some people don’t. I assure you that successful people are more intentional about how they spend their 24 hours than unsuccessful people are.
    • Since you have the same 24 hours as the Gates, Jobs, and Zuckerbergs of the world, you can choose to make the most of every hour in the pursuit of your goals.
  • The food that you put in your body affects the size, shape, and well-being of your body and how you feel physically.
    • You eat every day. You have to. Every food choice you make is either going to improve how you look and feel or diminish how you look and feel. If you’re unhappy with your weight or your health or both, change your food choices
  • Exercise improves your health, stamina, endurance, and mental acuity.
    • If any of those things are not where you want them to be, exercise
  • Truth must be reckoned with
    • If you encounter something that is fundamentally true, you must either adopt it and modify your life accordingly or reject it outright and modify your life accordingly.
  • You endorse your own behavior. Everywhere you go, everything you do, you are an example to others. Especially if you are a parent.
    • Since you are always being an example, you have the opportunity of ensuring that you are a good one.
  • Kindness always feels better than unkindness; both for the giver and the receiver.
  • Gratitude alone can change your entire life for the better.
  • You will always wish that you would have started that thing when you first thought of it a month ago, six months ago, a year ago. Just start it.
  • No one is perfect.
    • When you don’t follow through on something, don’t give up. Just pick up where you left off.
    • Failing is not found in the falling down. It is found in the not getting back up
  • When it comes to personal growth, doing something poorly is better than doing nothing at all.
  • Your brain is wired to notice and pick up on things that you have deemed important.
    • This seems simple but has enormous implications. When you repeat things to yourself over and over, your brain thinks they’re important and starts noticing and picking up on things that align with those thoughts…no matter what they are. Sometimes your brain will even misinterpret things that it’s perceiving to cause it to align with what you’ve deemed important.
    • This goes back to the thoughts you are having every day. Are they good? Are they helpful?
  • Very few successes ever taught important lessons. The lessons come from the unsuccessful. The nuances of success can only be understood and appreciated after they have been discovered through trial and error. If you succeed on your first try, there’s no way to be sure why or whether it is repeatable.
  • You can’t export what you don’t own
    • Things need to happen IN you before they can happen THROUGH you
  • We, as humans, are more alike than we are different
    • Our similarities bring us together and create connection and community.
    • Our differences provide the opportunity to serve one another in wonderful and unique ways

The common thread through most of these truths is awareness and intentionality. You have to increase your awareness of yourself, your thoughts, your choices, your actions,  your reactions, and your inactions SO THAT you can become more intentional about them. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel of life only to wake up and realize that you missed out. Worst case scenario when you fall asleep at the wheel is lasting and irreparable damage and loss of life. Best case scenario, you arrive at your destination but you completely missed the journey. It’s a big gamble. We’ve all done some sleeping. I know I have. But it’s never too late to wake up and be intentional. You can do it. I believe in you!

Which of the 3 reasons brought you here today? I hope you will connect with me so we can celebrate the accomplishment of connecting 2 out of 7 billion people for a particular reason. That’s big. That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing this moment with me.

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?