What if you lived life like you were training for the Olympics? What would you do different?
That’s the question I asked myself that stopped me in my tracks.
I realized I wasn’t playing full out. Yes, there are days I’m giving everything I have – and I’m leaving it out on the field wherever I am present, but there are many days that I just don’t’ have it. There are days I just don’t give it my best and I fail to FOCUS.
It’s not because of a lack of intent. I want to play full out. My aspirations are there. The reason why I don’t FINISH is because I can get out of balance.
The balance revelation drew my attention to something called the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Maybe you have heard of them. Here's a hokie graphic that illustrates them. (thanks Adobe Stock)
Here are the 8 in no particular order. Each of them have an equal weight of importance and value.
I like to read (or listen) to a good book. Usually, after time has passed, these books become a footnote in my awareness. I remember them, but I don't reflect on them too much. However, I found one book that I keep coming back too. It's become more than a footnote. It's the one book I'm so glad I read, and yet oddly enough it's the one book I wish was never written.
"Why?," you wonder. Because it flipped over my apple cart. It made me rethink everything when it comes to business and leadership. You can say it's disrupted my world.
The good news is that it disrupted it for the better. The bad news, it's still disrupting. :-).
"What's the book?", you ask.
It's The Vision Driven Leader, by Michael Hyatt. A book that has quickly become one of my top 12 favorite books of all time. *
If I were to write a book on vision, I would have written this one too. :-) ...
Today is father’s day. But my kids never call me father. They call me Dad. I love that word. Being a dad is one of the greatest joys of my life. It’s also one of the toughest roles of leadership I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Becoming a Dad
I remember the birth of my first son. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I cried with joy, as my wife and I gazed at our child for the very first time. But let’s give credit where credit is due. I couldn’t be a dad without my wife (and God's blessings). What she endured for 9 months, and then 8+ hours of labor is unfathomable. I couldn’t do it. I remember her experiencing contractions, and me writing down the times and duration. Helping her breath. She was the bravest thing in the world… and still is!
When we knew it was time for the birth, we jumped in the car in the middle of the night in the pouring rain and headed to the hospital. I had packed a video camera to...
Greatest of All Time
That's an accolade that doesn't suffer from humility, does it? How can one be humble and a GOAT? Is it even possible?
If you look back at the GOATs of life, there are a few who you could lay claim as both GOAT and humble: Think Mother Theresa, Jesus ,Chadwick Boseman, and Fred Rogers to name a few. The question is, how did they pull it off?
It seems it can only pulled off if we are willing to go through the full progression -- all the phases - of leadership.
As I started thinking about those phases, and an interesting analogy came to life:
Mountain Top Experiences
If you hadn't noticed, mountain top experiences never start on top of the mountain. It starts in the valley -- from a state of humility. There is a whole progression of phases that happen that makes those experiences the Great of All Time. If those phases are what create GOAT experiences, then maybe there are some parallel aspects to what...
Words matter. Words can either breath life, or tear us down. One of the more powerful words ever spoken was an excerpt from a Teddy Roosevelt speech titled Citizenship in a Republic that he gave in Paris, France in April 1910.
Perhaps you are familiar with it. Even if it is, I encourage you to read it again as if it’s the first time.
"It is not the critic who counts;
it’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring...
A few years before the pandemic, I took a trip to London. When I arrived at Heathrow Airport, I noticed a peculiar warning sign over the moving walk way that caught my attention. It simply said, "Face direction of travel."
Immediately I considered the wisdom in its message. Like a moving walking way, life is always progressing forward. For you and me, to get to where we are want to go, we have to face the direction of travel. If we don't, we might not see what's coming. We might bump into something unexpected, or we might miss something critical and life changing. We might get derailed.
To put this into context, let me share a story. Years ago I was skiing in West Virginia as a chaperone on a youth group trip. In the middle of the day I was on a green slope, traveling as fast as I could. Now, I've skied most of my life. Green runs to me are not a challenge, and this had been no...
There is a great scene early in the movie Remember the Titans where two teammates are in a huge disagreement. Gerry Bertier, the captain and star linebacker, who is white, is arguing one point with his teammate Julius Campbell, another talented linebacker, who happens to be black. Bertier is pressuring Julius to step up his game.
Julius counters with a different perspective reflecting on the clear lack of hustle between whites and blacks on their team. Because of the dysfunction, Julius openly wonders why he should care for anybody other than himself. In response, Bertier tells Julius, "That's the worst attitude I have ever heard." It's in that moment, you wonder if Julius is going to clock Bertier, but Julius responds candidly and calmly putting the pressure back on Bertier. "Attitude Reflects Leadership, Captain." Bertier is left standing there with no words. It's as if he got hit by a...
I need to make a confession. I am a recovering reluctant leader, and I'm doing everything I can to avoid a relapse.
The problem started way back when. Probably when I was just old enough to notice classmates (maybe even my older brother and sister) discrediting my unique ideas or thoughts. You know, an idea that disrupted the norm. Like, "What if we built a maze fort out of these cardboard boxes?” Or, “Want to help me build a wall of Legos to blockade mom and dad's room while they're sleeping?”
"No!" My brother and sister didn’t like either one of those ideas from their little brother. Sometimes I struggled with my voice being heard. Being the youngest, you often feel overlooked and ignored. It's frustrating. I remember when I was six knowing exactly what to do to put the family door knocker on the door, but no one wanted to hear my suggestion. I felt unheard and insignificant.
Eventually many of my imaginative...