Words mean things, but intent adds meaning

Unless you are living on a remote island by yourself, then you know that conversations with other people can be difficult. Communicating is about giving and receiving. A gift is always given with intent. It’s your birthday, I want to celebrate you. Here is a gift. You did something cool, I want to congratulate you. Here is a gift. You hurt my feelings. I care about you and want you to know. Here is a gift. The problem is on the receiving end. We don’t hear the reason behind the words you are giving me. If they strike a negative chord with you, pause and ask for the meaning. Intent adds color. This simple act has the potential to take your relationships to the next level.

New leader? Don’t forget about this

People are not a problem to be solved, but a relationship to develop.  I’ve been learning a lot about leadership and team coaching lately.  My eyes have been opened to the subtle nuances of working with people.  I’ve come to the obvious conclusion that a) people are weird and b) people are extremely complex.  As a new leader, I’ve focused my efforts on navigating projects, getting things done and removing obstacles.  This is great but it totally neglects the people growth dynamic. #fail  Things get done via people.  If the people ain’t happy , ain’t nobody happy.  So why do we forget this?

  1. Old habits are hard to break.  You were a great individual contributor and you’ve been promoted to leader.  You continue doing what you’ve always done.
  2. It takes effort.  You have to be intentional about spending time with people, getting to know them and finding out what motivates them.   As a new leader, this feels unproductive.  We have to shift our mindset about what it means to be successful.  It’s our job to help others succeed in their role.  When they succeed, then we do too.

Make time for your people.  Find out what motivates them.  Help them succeed.  Get out of the way.

Get your day started right with this morning routine

What’s the big deal about having a morning routine?  Why must it be morning and why do I need to make it routine?  You might say I’m not a morning person, doing the same thing over and over is boring or I just don’t have time.  Here’s the thing, there are a million and one excuses to not wake up early.  I’m sure there are a few excuses floating in your head right now.  Do me a favor, take your objections and set them aside for one minute.

What if, a morning routine actually made you more productive?  What if it made such a difference that your relationships were better and you just felt better overall?  Would it be worth a shot?  I think it’s worth trying.  I promise you, if you try it, you will experience more clarity and energy than you have probably felt in a long time.  Think of it like priming the pump or warming up your car on a cold day.  It gets your brain in gear, gets your blood flowing and prepares you for the day.  Don’t know where to start, here are five things you can do that will get you going:

Wake Up Early – Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you normally do.  Just 15 minutes, that’s it.

Drink a glass of water – Go straight for your sink and down a huge glass of water.  Water is like oil in our bodies.  After you have been asleep for hours, you need something to wake you up and to get things moving again.

Stretch – Take 5 minutes and stretch.  This gets your blood moving and really wakes you up.  I like do a little yoga sun salutations, it gets me to break a little sweat and it just feels good to get the muscles engaged.

Journal – Take 5 minutes and write 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you want to get done during the day.  Being grateful puts you in a positive frame of mind.  Identifying what you want to get done, put you in a productive state of mind.

Meditate/Read – This is not the empty your mind kind of meditation, but the be present kind.  This is a key to getting in tune with your emotional and mental state.  Engage your mind and it will set you thinking up for the day.

That’s it, 15 minutes.  5 easy things.  Try my suggestions or make up your own.  The key is that you rev your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual engines before the day starts to come at you like a wild animal.  You will be glad you did and you will be prepared to handle anything that comes at you.

What happens when you become conscious of your incompetence?

I am a relatively new leader of people, at least in the formal reporting relationship sense.  I have read books on leadership, but yesterday was my first training class on the subject.  I’ve always considered myself to be decent at leading and working with people.  I know how to get stuff done with a group of people and I’m pretty good at developing relationships.  But in the first 10 minutes of my class I realized that I’m not that great of a leader and that I’m doing a lot of things wrong.  It was eye opening to say the least and I had a moment of sadness and empathy for the people I am responsible for leading. In a list of about 40 things that leaders should not do, I probably do about half of them.  Suddenly I was conscious of my incompetence and I knew that the things I see as issues in my team, are really a reflection of me and it’s my responsibility to correct it.

Here are my top offenses:

  • Being too lax
  • Tolerating poor performance
  • Failure to set clear performance goals
  • Failure to inspect what I expect
  • Failure to develop people
  • Failing to give recognition
  • Not listening

Ugly, yes.  Now I’m faced with a choice.  Change or ignore.  I’m motivated to change and so the hard work begins

The butterfly effect and why a single action can change everything.

The butterfly effect states that at the single flutter of a butterfly’s wings a hurricane can be put into motion.  I believe the same is true when it comes to those things in our life that we want to accomplish but we just keep putting off.  Take for instance the desire to start working out.  How long have you been saying “I want to workout.  I know I need to.  I just can’t find the time.”  I think many people stall because the thought of working out for an entire hour or waking up early to get outside or finding a gym is mentally overwhelming.  We get caught up in the planning trap and never take action.  We read, we ponder, we talk, but we never move…and frankly we just feel down on ourselves.  I’ve found the secret sauce to overcoming these obstacles.  It’s so simple that you will be inclined to not do it, but if you do it and do it consistently soon enough you will find yourself in the middle of a hurricane, so ingrained in your goal that you will be caught by surprise and wonder how it even happened.  Are you ready?  Ask yourself what’s the single smallest action that you could take that moves you toward your goal?  If it’s working out, do 1 pushup, walk for 1 minute, do 10 jump jacks.  Just get yourself moving.  Then do it again.  If you want to start a business, but have no ideas, write down 1 thing that bothers you today.  If you want to write, write 1 word.  Then do it again.  Keep doing the simple, I guarantee it the simple will begin to grow.  It’s physics.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion.  The key is creating motion.  A simple motion.  That’s it.  Now go start a storm.