goals

Inspiration, Leadership

Our “Dos” and “Don’ts” Define Us


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I almost quit.

 

10 steps out the door for my first workout toward a goal I have set for myself this summer (complete a duathlon), I was freezing. 38 degrees with 20-25 mph winds, and I was about to go running.

 

A few days before, I’d laid out my workouts for every day until the end of August. I’m not a natural planner, but I had a plan. I finished that work, and decided mentally my mantra for this endeavor: “I don’t miss workouts.”

 

So there I was. Just after 5 AM. Outside. In the dark. Listening to the wind whip about me. And I was tempted to quit—change the workout or make it up later. And then my mantra spoke up: “I don’t miss workouts.”

 

10 minutes into the workout it was still cold, still windy, still dark, and my face was already numb.

 

But no one else was up.

 

No one else was around.

 

But I was running; thinking about my goal; thinking about August and doing something I had never done before. I was filled with the adrenaline that comes from doing something difficult, something other people won’t do to accomplish something other people won’t experience.

 

Not because they can’t, but because they need a “do” or “don’t” to help them.

 

Our “dos” and “don’ts” define us; they set our limits; they stretch our aspirations and enable our accomplishments.

 

What “do” or “don’t” are you trying on for size? What difference is it making?

 

I don’t miss workouts.

 

I do duathlons.

 

Comment. Make it public. Do.

 

 

Leadership

Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life


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“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Opportunity, reaching a milestone, kicking a habit, expanding your horizons…  You have unique gifts, talents that few others possess, experiences only you can learn from…  You are the only you in all the world.

So what’s stopping you?  What is the barrier between you and your goals?  What ideal self is “out there” somewhere, but for your decision to pursue it?

What if you looked back on this day one year from now and said, “That was the first day.  That was the day I decided, and now here I am.”

Why do we wait for special days—anniversaries, birthdays, New Year’s Day—to make the decisions we ought to make, to pursue the goals we ought to have reached a long time ago, but for some failing, have yet to achieve?

What’s stopping us from making today the first day of the rest of our lives?

I think we all have our different reasons, but the one we share is deceptively simple, because we don’t think about it enough:

For many of us, today is not the first day of the rest of our lives because that isn’t enough.

 

Whether or not we actively realize it, reaching our goals or kicking our bad habits or establishing new lifestyles simply isn’t enough, because most of us can do those things all by ourselves.

We can make today “the first day of the rest of our lives” all by ourselves.

And, in this instance, that is not a good thing.

Sure, it is a positive when we attain a milestone or make a positive change, but it is better when we bring others along through accountability, inspiration, or example.

 

As leaders, our line of thinking should be, “Today is the first day of the rest of someone’s life.  How can I come alongside their process?”  Or, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.  Who can I bring with me so that it is the first day of the rest of their lives also?”

The difference between individual success and leadership is simple: involving others.

 

So what is stopping you?

 

Leadership

Pushing Them (and Pulling Them)


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I had the chance to facilitate with a dear colleague today, who provided an insight that gave me further clarity into the poem I referenced a few days ago. 

From my initial vantage point, I saw only the perspective of “pushing” others–challenging them to greater heights, better things, previously unexperienced outcomes.  This is my natural bent as a leader, but it is/was myopic.

My friend’s observations about pushing and pulling as leaders made me think about how we have to attract people to begin with, gain their trust and permission to lead before we can begin to push.

In the poem, the speaker (leader) calls twice for them to come to the edge.  He invites them, entices them, inspires them perhaps, but somehow he gains their following.  It is only after this pulling that he pushes, and they fly.

A concept we would do well to remember so as to avoid pushing those whose allegiance to us, trust in us, has not yet been confirmed.