Anticipate Something Good

What if, every time we caught ourselves anticipating something bad that might happen, we stopped and started anticipating something good that we would want to have happen?

First, we’d feel better. (So we’d have that going for us.)

Second, we’d be soon enjoying the fruits of that labor.

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We’ve all done this before. I’m just reminding you how effective it can be at home and work today.

Model, Test, Learn, Repeat

Consider the theoretical physicist. She works intently, often for decades, on models and equations she hopes will better describe our universe. Yet the results from another scientist’s experiments can, if they don’t corroborate her predictions, nullify all her efforts. A crushing blow? Perhaps, a bit. But all dedicated scientists know that unexpected results are actually great news: more clues and a chance to understand things even better in the long run.

As leaders, we can borrow a page from the physicist’s playbook. We can succeed in the long run by modeling how we think our businesses work best, testing our assumptions in the real world, learning, and repeating the process with our new insights.

Contrast this with the “do or die,” full-speed-ahead, top-down, I-know-or-at-least-hope-this-is-right approach many organizations stumble into.

Yup. The physicist’s way is probably better.

In your corner,

Mike

deep

Go Ahead, Look Deeper

Why are you doing what you are doing in your work and life?

If we scratch just beneath the surface of our answers to this question, we see something remarkable if not a bit unnerving. Many of our reasons for why we do what we do are imported. We have adopted our answers to the question, “Why?” from our parents, peers, and the public-at-large.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by or taking our motivation cues from others. It’s when we do so unwittingly or exclusively that we run into trouble.

You see, we each have a mind and heart that knows what’s really meaningful to us. From within come our own passions, talents, desires, and our hopes for the world. If we look just past our inherited reasons why, we will find and embrace these creative, delicious, and fulfilling sources of meaning.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Have no fear to go deeper. Some worry that learning what really makes us tick will mean we have to give up some parts of our lives that we love. Nope. Not these days, anyway; we are long past the time when a life of meaning meant sacrifice. As we look deeper, we will likely see that our families, our friends, our position, our house, car, and other trappings take on even richer meanings. Go ahead and look.

Today’s photo credit: Mark Strozier via photopin cc

lower shields

Thriving on the Care and Goodwill of Others

Most people are genuinely good. They are kind and helpful. They want to succeed and want us to succeed. For many unimportant reasons, these people just don’t broadcast this goodness. We, then, are left to wonder and worry: how might they harm us? And we thus spend lots of energy to keep our shields up.

Of course, for the same unimportant reasons, we don’t broadcast our goodness. And that causes them to keep their shields up around us.

Silly, huh?

Let’s lower our shields and let in all that goodness. We can really thrive on and contribute to all the trust and goodwill that’s out there.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Should we ever encounter someone who is not so good, we needn’t worry; we’ll be able to recognize it and shift away, easy peasy.

Today’s photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost via photopin cc

know

Leader, Know Thyself

As great leaders, we understand ourselves. We know our strengths, blind spots, and biases. And we consistently grow ourselves. We do all this for three reasons.

First, self knowledge and growth are valuable in their own right. Life becomes more and more rich, beautiful, and fulfilling as we learn about and become more of ourselves. Second, by knowing and growing ourselves, we keep pace with our organization. Otherwise, we’d run the risk that its needs would outgrow our abilities. Third, our self understanding helps us understand, appreciate, and grow new leaders.

Know thyself.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost via photopin cc

long time

How Fast or Slow is Success?

Steve Martin, describing his success as a stand-up comedian, says, “The course was more plodding than heroic; I…took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps.” If we believe we have to work hard, prove ourselves, do the right things in the right order, or pay our dues, then success will wait until we have done so. If we desperately seek success now yet secretly think–for whatever reason–that we can’t have it, then success will stay away for a long while.

But if we know clearly what success looks like for us, we feel good about it all, we seek wins for others as well as for ourselves, and we consistently choose and do the most compelling tasks from everything we could do, then success can happen at any time.

You see, success isn’t fast or slow. Success follows our lead.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: Leo Reynolds/a> via photopin cc

stop

The Four Reasons We Get Stuck

If any success for our organizations or ourselves seems elusive, then we benefit greatly if we can see what’s stopping us.

Sometimes we get stuck because we don’t really know what it is we are after (or are afraid to specify it).

Sometimes it’s because our buzz is too low; we are feeling bad, trying to make things happen (usually turns our poorly) instead of feeling good and allowing them to happen (usually turns out well).

Sometimes we get stuck because we can’t see how to work on the right, best things and end up working on the urgent things or on nothing much at all.

And sometimes success evades us because we’re trying to do it alone or we have not committed to win-win outcomes: someone (maybe us) who matters is losing.

Those are the only reasons, I promise. Success is simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: coneslayer via photopin cc

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Not Too Much, not Too Little

Too much structure, process, and regulation strangles any endeavor. Too little limits growth and, ultimately, everyone’s happiness. Just the right amount makes things easier, speeds our work, and sustains growth and happiness; it forms a strong foundation for our work.

Our job, as leaders, is to ensure that the right level of systems are in place. How to tell when we have enough? It can be hard to say. Each organization needs different levels at different times. Here are three guidelines to help: keep it as simple as possible but no simpler, build systems to support the work rather than control the workers, know and follow relevant regulations (e.g. health and safety, privacy, governance, and accounting rules).

In your corner,

Mike