Guiding Attention Through Intention

Starve your distractions, feed your focus” writes an unknown author on the importance of focus. Tony Robbins tells great leaders: “Where your focus goes, your energy flows.”  It is this intentionality that drives an action-orientation in the great leaders’ purposeful commitment to their choices – a movement from pure mechanics of habit to thoughtful purpose. Winston Churchill captures this beautifully having said: “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog who barks.” His message is simple: not everything needs our attention.  But, may I humbly add, we still can pet the dogs along the way.

May you fill your life with all that realizes its beautiful purpose and meaning. May distractions play their needed part in giving pleasure, enjoyment, reflection and peace along the way. May you remember always David Duchemin’s wise advice of: “Guide your time fiercely. Be generous with it, but be intentional about it.” May you make every precious moment count… every moment your masterpiece. Life is so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day, a magnificent week and one heck of a summer!!!

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Everyone Wants to Be a Frog Man/Frog Woman on Friday

Andy Stumpf, retired member of the US Navy SEAL Team 3, shares with great leaders his compelling insights on the importance of perseverance in difficult times and never giving up.

Everyone wants to be a Frogman on Friday. One of my favorite quotes from the Teams, because it applies to everyone and every goal.

To use SEAL training as an example, 80-85 percent don’t see the third day of hell week, let alone the last day of training. It takes a lot of work to even show up for day one, but it doesn’t take much to end it. All you have to do is say “I quit”, ring the bell in the picture three times, and it’s over. There is paperwork later, but in essence, that is the end.

All SEAL training is really about is pushing people to their lowest point, and watching the decisions they make. When you are at your lowest point, tired, hungry, cold…do you give in and take the easy way out?

During the most difficult portions of training, the instructors bring the bell with them, to make it that much more enticing and easy to quit. It sits right there, in plain sight, always ready for the next taker.

I have noticed that most people focus on the illusion of the shiny object, not the reality of what it takes to achieve it. The amateur can only see the end state. The professional focuses on the fundamentals and incremental progress.

If you think the “bell” doesn’t exist in your life, your eyes are closed. It is everywhere. The only difference between the BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School) bell and everywhere else, is that in BUD/s, when you ring it, the outcome is instantaneous.

Laziness, procrastination, selfishness, lack of discipline, you fill in the blank…all small rings of the bell. The bell is everywhere, and it is always calling you. Ring it enough times and you will find yourself looking back filled with regret. Everyone wants to be a Frogman on Friday, but you will never get there if you give in on Tuesday.

I know the sound of the bell haunts many men.  Don’t let the decisions you make when things get difficult end up haunting you.

If you don’t push your limits, you will never know what your limits are. May you push your limits and beyond each day, never giving up and taking the easy way out. In doing this, you will be that remarkable and extraordinary Frog Man/Frog Woman on Friday… because you choose to be!

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Make It One Heck of a Summer

With the beginning of summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere, Philip Humbert’s article, “Make It One Heck of a Summer,” and its message of “carpe diem” again comes to mind.  I share this at the beginning of each summer as it continues to serve us well as a moment of reflection of the great possibilities and joys of the coming summer.  In his article, he talks about how he and his wife seemed to always have the same conversation about summer in October:  “Oh, no!  Where did the summer go?”  Moments later the house was filled with whining and moaning, a few complaints and exclamations that, “I can’t believe we let it get away again!”  I believe his experience is similar to most of ours, and that, come October, we may look back with similar regrets… if we don’t purposefully choose a summer filled with fun, relaxation and infinite possibilities for joy and happiness.

Humbert reminds us that we are in control.  Our summer and how we will spend it is in our hands. It is about goal setting – a plan, getting things on our calendar and locking-in on them.  Human beings, by nature, he says, are “goal-setting and goal-achieving creatures.”  We set goals everyday – from the planning of our daily schedule to planning what we will eat during the week.  So, if we are to have the greatest summer yet of our lives, we need to plan to make it the greatest.  Start today.  Circle dates on the calendar and mark them with things you want and love to do.  Fill it up and let it overflow the brim. Live this summer as the greatest you have ever had!

It is your beautiful and special life to live to its fullest.  Stretch yourself to do new things and discover new possibilities and happiness – for you, your family and those around you. Set goals and make a checklist of all those things you want to do, and do them.  And in October, look back proudly with joy, happiness and extraordinary satisfaction at what you have achieved, learned and experienced.  Happiness and success are in your choosing and doing.  Choose wisely; choose well! Life is so very beautiful and good.  Make yours one heck of a summer, my very dear friends! Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day, a fantastic week and a joyous, magnificent one heck of a summer!!!

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The Joy and Value of Diversity and Inclusion

John Dewey wrote: “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” Last July 2019, our weekly Three Minute Leadership note spoke of “The Joy and Great Value of Seeing Things Differently.” Today’s world is providing extraordinary opportunities to reflect on our experiences. These learnings not only remind us that we all see life through our own unique lens, but that this understanding implies and calls for a respectful acknowledgement and response to those differences. I humbly ask you to pause for a moment on the joy and great value of seeing things differently as we stand in the shoes of others.

Everyone has a beautiful uniqueness in their gifts and view of life. We are all wonderfully different in our own individuality, in how we see the world, understand ideas, perceive realities and relate to people. There is richness and abundance beyond belief in our unique gift to the world. It is often said  of Steve Jobs that he “imagined the unimaginable”. It was not unimaginable to Steve Jobs; it was who he was. He was simply different. So it is with each of us in our own world view. How each of us sees and responds to the world could possibly change the world… because we see it differently, not right or wrong, simply differently.

Great leaders understand and embrace the richness and diversity of these differences. For in their abundance and breadth, there are undreamed of possibilities for growth and change both in people and the world around us. May we recognize and embrace these differences and remember always the wise counsel of Wayne Dyer: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Aldous Huxley reminds us: “There are things known and there are things unknown and, in between, are the doors of perception.”

Let us open ourselves to all the richness of life and the wonders of those whom we serve as we stand in the shoes of others and see the world through their eyes. May we choose to adorn this openness and understanding with an extraordinary, actionable inclusion that brings life to thought and words. Verna Myers tells great leaders: “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

 

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On Commitment

If I’m committed, there is always a way” wrote Tony Robbins. For great leaders, it is their passionate commitment to a vision, purpose, cause or goal that unlocks the possibilities of bringing them to reality. They don’t allow themselves to be cheated, as John Maxwell says, “out of the possibility that is on the other side of commitment.” It is a choice… to act, to go beyond hesitancy and doubt to realize the ‘what’ to which they have committed. Peter Drucker captures the impact of that moment writing: “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.”

It is in that magical moment of freedom and release that a door opens. The great leader is now free to explore new opportunities unfettered by indecision and uncertainty to bring reality to their commitment. They have boldly and heroically chosen not to be cheated “out of the possibility that is on the other side of commitment.”

May you remember the wise counsel of Pat Riley on commitment: “There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as a life in-between.” May you be ‘in’ at every moment of your magnificent life’s journey – in all who you are and in all that you do. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Your Defining Moment Is in Every Moment

In his blog post, Your Defining Moment, Seth Godin reminds great leaders that their defining moments are found in every moment in their life… when they choose to decide that it is.

“It’s easy to wait for it. The movies have taught us that when the music swells and the chips are down, that’s when leaders arrive and when heroes are made. It turns out, that’s not how it works.
Our work is what happens in all the moments. Leadership doesn’t simply appear when the script announces it does: it is the hard work of showing up when we’re not expected to, of seeing what’s possible when few are willing to believe…. Your defining moment is whenever you decide it is, and you get a new chance to lead every day.”

William Shakespeare wrote: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” Our life is the reflection of those defining moments, a beautiful mosaic of choices that have shaped the person we are and what we do. Godin writes: “Possibility is where you find it. We each have more to offer than the world expects. And growth is something we’re capable of, as soon as we’re committed to seeing what we can contribute.”

May you make your defining moments taking counsel from the words of Amy Atherton: “Our defining moments often result from putting more importance on the desires of our hearts rather than the doubts in our heads.” May you work hard, unconditionally and selflessly serve others, see the world through different eyes, dream dreams undreamed and change the world, and continue to become more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more. Your best is yet to come, and it will because “Your defining moment is when you decide it is, and you get a new chance to lead every day.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Authentic Servant Leadership Comes from the Inside Out

In their essay, Finding Your Voice, James Kouzes and Barry Posner write that, in their thirty-five years studying leadership, “We keep rediscovering that credibility is the foundation of leadership… We’ve come to refer to it as the First Law of Leadership: if you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Throughout their journey, great leaders fill their leadership portfolio with a continuous flow of experiences that grow and develop the skills, talents and knowledge as they master these fundamental tools of the leadership trade. Yet, simply having the tools and applying them doesn’t ensure successful leadership. As the authors write: “If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Kouzes and Posner tell great leaders:

“To lead others, you have to learn about yourself. After all, if you are to speak out, you have to know what to speak about and, if you are to stand up for your beliefs, you have to know the beliefs you stand for. To do what you say, you have to know what you want to say. Authentic servant leadership cannot come from the outside in. It comes from the inside out…. Don’t confuse leadership with talent. And don’t confuse leadership with tools and techniques. They are not what earn you the respect and commitment of your people. What earns you their respect in the end is whether you are you.”

May you remember Dr. Seuss’ gentle counsel: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Continue to be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more youer than you.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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If Serving Is Below You, Leadership is Beyond You

In their book, Servant Leadership in Action, Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell have collected an incredible collection of essays by prominent writers on the subject of servant leadership. Simon Sinek, in his essay, The Evolution of Servant Leadership, suggests that the origins of servant leadership can be found in anthropology. Some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, he writes, people lived in populations of 150. Tension existed between the stronger and weaker. To deal with this, we evolved into “hierarchical animals” who constantly assessed who were in dominant roles: “We tried to figure out who was the alpha…. If we assessed that others were more senior in the social hierarchy, we would voluntarily step back and allow the alpha to eat first.”

Sinek believes that today we continue this assessment in search of the alpha, or leader. Yet, that position comes with a price. He writes: “A deep-seated social contract is hardwired into all human beings. There is an expectation that, when danger threatens, the alpha… will rush forward toward the danger to protect the tribe.” It is in this that he finds the anthropological roots of servant leadership: “Leadership, it turns out, is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” He relates this to the responsibility of parents who, while in authority, would do anything to protect and serve their children “to benefit the life of another human being.” They put aside their interest for the well-being and life of others.

Sinek concludes writing that servant leadership “is not based on a series of transactions, but on the promise of being there when someone needs you most…. A few scattered, well-intentioned actions by a leader can’t hurt, but they won’t breed loyalty…. It is the accumulation of a lot of little things that makes all the difference.” May we take care of those whom we serve. Yes, we will hold them accountable and responsible. We will grow, develop and guide them. We may push them to their limits to achieve their greatest potential. We will do all these things because we deeply care for those in our charge, those whom we serve.

On our journey, may we always remember the wise caution given us by Bishop Dale Bronner: “If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.” May your servant leadership take your leadership and the leadership of those whom you serve to heights undreamed… because you care.

In these difficult days, your servant leadership is deeply needed. As Sinek tells us: “Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” There are so many who need you most, family, friends, business and professional associates. May we be there for them… always. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On The Joy of Dreams

An unknown author wrote: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Beautifully complementing those words, Oprah Winfrey said: “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Dreams are the magical keys that unlock the great leaders’ isolation from the limitless possibilities both they and life offers. They are the stepping-stones from the ‘as is’ to the ‘what can be.’ All the joy, beauty and happiness that awaits to be held begins only with a single step forward to their realization.

Carl Jung wrote: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to be.” May you make that choice to begin your greatest adventure. Believe in yourself; work hard and passionately and live the life you imagined. Stay focused and motivated. On that journey, may you also cry out and say as Martin Luther King, Jr., once did: “I have a dream…”, and live that dream with passion, purpose and pursuit. May you remember the wise counsel of Henry David Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dream. Live the life you have imagined.” And have the biggest adventure of your life.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Who Will You Be Today?

In his blog post, Daily Discipline, Brian Kight writes of No More Waiting. He reminds great leaders that each day is another building block, another step, in achieving their outstanding life’s purpose and meaning. It is not just another day. It is more… so much more.

When you think of today as just another in your life, it becomes a block of time to get through. When you think of life as a stacking of your days, today becomes the most important one.
Today is not only a chance to live at your best, it is your best chance to create more of what you desire. Choose your intention, align with your purpose, and pursue it with skill today.
Discipline is the shortcut. Do the work.

The great leaders’ positivity and passion are found in their daily quest to see and realize another precious morsel which adds another fragment to their life’s mosaic. They understand that who they are and what they have achieved is the result of a lifetime of days that they have been meticulously sculpted. They relish the joy in adding to it and embellishing its beauty. Fana Gueye reminds us: “A typical day is the building block of your life. Want to change your life? Start by changing the way you spend your typical day.” May you choose to make each day of your extraordinary journey another masterpiece of purpose, commitment, caring and love. May you begin that step each day with the words: “I will passionately and excitedly live this day to its fullest… and more.”  The choice is in your hands. Life is so very good.

Please take care, and may you and your families be safe and well.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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