Showing posts from January, 2019

You Perform As You Practice

A statement said and heard often in our house lately is you perform as you practice. Whether it is at school, dance or at cheer we try to emphasize how important every practice is. It is so easy to get bored with the grind of the practice, waiting for the excitement and adrenaline rush that comes from the actual performance, in front of a crowd. Champions are made based on the performance, but that performance is made based on the practice.

Practicing at school or at work is no different. Every homework assignment is practice to prepare you for the performance of the test. At work every project or code release, no matter how insignificant or low risk it seems is an opportunity to hone your craft.

If you want to be the best, learn to love the grind of the practice. Learn to love all of the details, the exercises, the little things that you drill over and over again until they become second nature. When you practice at an elite level the performance will take care of itself. You don'…

Fyre Festival And The Frog In The Boiling Water

Just watched the documentary on the Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival that never was. It was a fascinating look at how momentum and the wrong kind of leadership can lead people into a complete disaster.

After watching I was reminded of the saying about how you can't kill a frog by dropping him into hot water, he reacts too quickly and he immediately jumps out, no harm done. But if you put a frog in cold water and gradually warm it up until it is boiling hot, you have a cooked frog without him even realizing it is happening.

There were lots of people involved with putting on the Fyre Festival, and almost all of them didn't do anything criminally wrong. The thing that is interesting was the number of people that knew something was off but couldn't seem to do anything to stop it.

I believe that many of us face situations like this in our lives, probably not as big of a disaster as Fyre Festival, but it is still a lesson for us. When my instincts tell me something is wrong…

Paying Attention To Customer Happiness

When you ignore the times the Internet seems to be one flame war after another you can find those great moments when you discover something really interesting. Recently I learned a little about Derek Sivers, an entrepreneur who has started a number of businesses over the years helping to reshape the music industry. He now is focused on helping people build companies in a number of foreign countries.

What really got me thinking is a couple of his quotes about customers.
Care about your customers more than about yourself, and you'll do well. - Derek Sivers I've seen businesses go to a point of not caring about their customers at all with their actions and they don't even know it. They think they do, but when customers try to tell them that they aren't happy they try to explain away their actions with what they've convinced themselves are legitimate good reasons. All the while their customer base shrinks as they go to the competition or other alternatives.

We need to l…

Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness - Choose To Be A Light

We celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday and I think it is an important holiday that doesn't get the attention that it deserves. Not only is it important to remember what this man did in our nations history, but more importantly remembering the ideals and principles that he asked that we all believe in. Our world today is filled with so much hatred and vitriol, fed by media conglomerates that play to their demographics desires. Martin Luther King Jr. desired for our nation to hold onto the ideals that are stated in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Freedom and equality for all is something that we still don't see in our nation. 
In our schools and workplaces lines are drawn and allegiances are formed in battles over status, power and ego. Darkness and hate seem to be winning in our world, but the secret weapon is you. Each of us have the ability to simply choose to be light and love in the world we are a part of, no matter how big or how small. Ev…

Thoughts On Leadership - If You Don't Think You Are A Leader Read Anyway

I just finished reading Todd Gongwer's great book, Lead...for God's Sake!: A Parable for Finding the Heart of Leadership. It really got me thinking about leadership and how there is such a lack of good leaders. Why is that? Too often I believe people think of leadership as managing, controlling or being in charge. Leadership is none of those things as many of us have experienced far too often in life.

There are two keys to leadership that differentiate a person we view as a leader.

First, they focus more on how they can help others than how they can help themselves. Looking at how they can encourage, support and listen to those they come in contact with.

Second, they know that they have to start with leading themselves first. They worry about what they say, how they act, the effort they put in and the attitude they display. There has never been a successful do as I say not as I do leader. If you want to make an impact it is important to recognize the example you are setting fo…

Now What?

Now what?
Two words I ask myself a lot and challenge others with. It is so easy to complain, whine really about how hard things are. Things are hard. Life is hard. All of us face conflicts and struggle with things, but most of the time the things we complain about aren't that big of a deal. Having to get a project done and seemingly not enough time to do it is is hard, but not as hard as not being able to find work to pay rent. 
All of those challenges that you complain about, my question to you is, "Now what?" You know what the problem is, you can complain about it to anyone who will give you the time of day. The question is what are you going to do about it now? What actions are you going to take? What are you going to read or learn to improve your skills? How can you get more training? Who can you ask for advice or feedback on how to resolve your issue? When can you spend some extra time thinking about and solving a problem rather than binge watching your favorite sho…

What Does It Mean To Be A Family?

After watching Clemson win the National Championship I am reminded how much I love Dabo Swinney. Listening to the man speak and reading his quotes you can tell how much he cares for his players and just how unified they are as a team. There is something special and unique about the culture they have, something that very few teams have.

It got me thinking about how some teams are families and what the word family means. I see Clemson football as a family. Often you see a correlation between the degree with which you are family and the level of success you achieve. All teams are not families though. It can be true for more than just sports teams too. You can have companies or organizations that have a culture of a family. You can also have blood relatives but not have a family but have close friends that you think of as a brother or a sister. 

Relatives, co-workers and teammates are people you have a relationship with. But to find success, it is about moving beyond having a relationship …

The One Choice Nobody Can Take From You

I need to reread Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning as I've been reflecting on some of his quotes around choice and attitude lately. If you aren't familiar with Viktor Frankl he survived years in a Nazi labor camps, including Auschwitz, where his parents, brother and pregnant wife died. Out of a situation that most of us can't even truly grasp, he came out of it to give us words like this.

You think about the things we complain about in our lives, and the things we feel have no control over, they are most often inconsequential. Yet we let these things control our thoughts and feelings.

I realize that some of my core values in my life are based around lessons Viktor Frankl has given.

I can't control what life throws at me, but I can control my attitude and how I react to the situations I'm in.It does no good to worry about things that I can't control.Most things we worry about in life aren't really that big of a deal. I get that things in your l…

Finding Your Purpose

As we get rolling on 2019 the goal setting is well under way, the resolutions are still in tact and the changes that you've promised to yourself many times are renewed telling yourself this time you're really going to do it. For some though, you might be feeling stuck, like you aren't really sure what your goals are for the year. The idea of goal setting and resolutions got me thinking about purpose. Often times we fail because we forget why the goal is important. Two quotes entered my mind around finding our purpose as we start 2019.
We don't get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. Purpose keeps you fresh! - Jon Gordon
We are each created by God with a unique purpose to fulfill in this world. If it feels like you are just going through the motions and it is an unsettling feeling, that is because that is not who you were created to be. We aren't all going to be famous, manage companies, write a best seller or run for …

My One Word For 2019

Rather than setting goals or making New Year's resolutions I pick One Word for the year. Jon Gordon has an article with links to videos and other resources explaining the concept, you can find it here. This will be the fourth time for me, here were my past words:2016 - Move2017 - Fire2018 - Discipline My word for 2019, with a nod to Seth Godin, is Ruckus. It was an easy pick for me, in many ways it has haunted me for most of 2018. I've thought about it a lot and it really fits where I feel like I'm at with my work and life. 
The most important thing about picking a word is what it means for you. On the surface ruckus might be an odd word because when you look it up the definition it is a disturbance or commotion. When you hear Seth Godin talk though he encourages everyone to create a ruckus. Stop doing things the way they have always been done. Start disrupting things in a positive way.
I like this graphic from Leyla Acaroglu's "Disruptive Design" e-book to h…