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Archive for December, 2013

I was thrilled and blessed to see Chris Isaak in concert last night at The Kent Stage, in Kent, Ohio, and have to say it was truly a highlight of my year. Not only does Chris, and his band Silvertone, put on one heck of an entertaining show, but they also demonstrate what it truly means to connect with others.

These guys travel a lot, and yet, they make a point of truly connecting with their audience whether they are in the BIG city (i.e. New York, Paris, San Francisco) or in a small town in the mid-west (i.e. Kent, Ohio!). Here are a few lessons in connecting that I was reminded of last night:

Connectors show appreciation for others. At the end of the opening song, Chris said, “Thank you for coming out tonight and supporting live music.” This resonated with me for a couple of reasons: 1) It was a snowy day, and the roads to Kent were not in fabulous condition. Having driven 3 hours to get there, we passed no fewer than 6 vehicles off the road (some in the ditch, some in the median, one Durango that looked as if it had rolled across several lanes, spilling its owner’s things thru the median and across the highway). Kent is a bit out of the way; it’s not far from Akron or Cleveland, but a bit off the beaten path. 2) We have so much access to music of all kinds at all hours of the day, fairly inexpensively. Attending a live concert these days is a bit of an investment — tickets, travel, maybe dinner out and a hotel for longer-distance travelers.

In addition, while the tour is titled “Chris Isaak,” it’s not all about Chris. He showcases each member of the band separately during different parts of the show, allowing each to shine with his instruments of choice. He also highlights, and pays tribute to those performers who inspired and mentored him…from Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison to Carl Perkins and Elvis.

Connectors create entertaining experiences for others. Chris and Silvertone put on a SHOW! For them, it’s not all about flash and special effects, unless you count the sequins or mirrored panels on the suits Chris wears when he’s entertaining! The Kent Stage has about 620 seats, old movie theater style, so there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, and the band took full advantage of being able to interact with the audience. Chris and his guitarist, Hershel, were both out performing in the audience during a couple of different songs. They tell stories, they make fun of themselves, they do some fun moves together (imagine the stage shows of bands in the 50’s and 60’s), they even had one of those ridiculous dancing Santa’s on-stage — you know the ones, they move when they are activated by sounds around them. They encouraged us to get up and dance and they performed for a full two hours.

Connectors respond to the needs of others. As  I mentioned, they were out among the audience performing. They invited a few audience members on stage to dance with the bass player. They did a couple of songs based on requests yelled out by members of the audience. If you’ve been to a concert, you know they have a “stage set” or planned play-list that they work their way through. Yes, they had a stage set, and I’m sure they stuck to most of it, but they also improvised in response to the audience.

Finally, there is something so powerful about watching people perform in their passion zone. These guys have been playing together for 25-30 years, and it shows. They were having a lot of fun, and so were we. It was one of those experiences during which I was truly “in the moment” the whole time. If these guys are coming to a venue near you, I highly recommend seeing them, you won’t regret it!

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Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.  ~Henry David Thoreau*

This is so true; don’t you think? Consider this…how would your life be different today if you hadn’t believed in yourself?

How would your world be different today if other leaders hadn’t believed in their potential, their vision, their mission?

What if:

  • Abraham Lincoln hadn’t believed slaves should be freed?
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr., hadn’t believed a man could walk on the moon?
  • Martin Luther King hadn’t believed in the dream of equality for all?
  • Susan B. Anthony hadn’t believed women should vote?
  • Jonas Salk hadn’t believed polio could be cured?

These are just a few examples; given time, and putting our heads together, we could probably come up with a list that would span countless pages of how others’ (and our own) beliefs have changed our lives, our communities, and our world.

Regardless of what stage of life — and leadership — you may be in, know that the first step you must take to move forward is the believe in yourself, in your dream, and your ability to accomplish it.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.  ~Charles F. Kettering

Do so, and success will surely follow.

Do so, and you will change the lives of more people than you can imagine, at levels you may not even be aware of.

Do so…we need you!

___________

Note: This concludes this 12-month, focused Intentional Leadership journey. Thank you for accompanying me. Remember, it is a journey; even though our study together is ended, it doesn’t mean you must or should stop working through this process. This work, this guide, is archived for you on this site, and you are welcome to revisit it — even go through the whole process, or pieces of it, as the need arises — at any time in the future.

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact.

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It’s hard to believe, but this will be our last daily post on this Intentional Leadership journey. I will, of course, provide a wrap-up of this month’s focus on Belief, tomorrow…but for today, I’d like to walk you through our Friday ritual one last time.

On this day, I am beginning a new coaching engagement with another John Maxwell Certified coach, and will spend some time learning about the goals and challenges of a colleague on an Advisory Board I am part of, with the intent of understanding how I might add value to her and her team in the new year.

I am preparing for a number of upcoming significant events in my life, including fun, travel, visiting distant family, continuing to work with several mentoring participants, and planning my new year. The fun and travel come first, as I will be at the Chris Isaak Concert with my husband tomorrow night, then off to Washington State on Sunday for some time with my family before the holidays. It won’t be all play, however. This is the beauty of working in my passion zone; I can do it from nearly any location on earth (assuming there’s a cell signal and internet access!) at almost any time of day or night, as my creativity does not live by a “work schedule.”

Again, I will spend a significant amount of time in the coming weeks preparing for the coming new year, following deep reflection on the year we are so close to ending.

I can say with absolute honesty, that Belief is the perfect theme for me to end this Intentional Leadership journey. Without belief in myself, my purpose, my passion, and my plan, I would not be here with you at all. While I know there are many challenges and obstacles ahead, I fully belief I am on the right path, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

I hope you can say the same for yourself. If you can’t, I strongly encourage you to find a coach or a mentor to help you work through the process of discovering what that path is for you, and then developing a plan for going after it!

In the meantime, how will you spend your weekend? With whom will you spend it?

What is vying for your time, attention, and energy?

What do you have in mind for closing out this year and moving into 2014?

Whatever it is, I hope you’re intentional about it.

Thank you for joining me on this journey; it’s been my pleasure. I hope you’ve learned as much as I have and have moved yourself and your team/organization forward in many ways.

I hope you’ll continue to stop in and read. I have a lot on my mind and will continue to be here writing, sharing thoughts, and asking questions…at least once a week.

If you have questions, comments, and/or topics you would like to explore together, I would love to hear them. Use the comment box below or send me an email.

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Spend some time today with your action plan, from earlier this week, and your calendar. Enter tasks, reminders, and action notes to your calendar — for the next 30 days — to ensure you are acting on your commitment to move forward into your opportunity. Use this, also, to track your progress toward achieving your goal. *

My mentor, John Maxwell, often says that it’s important to not only write down our goals, but also to write out the discreet steps we need to take to actually reach those goals. People who do this consistently — taking even small steps each day toward a stated goal — are much more likely to accomplish great things.

As you write out your tasks, actions, and reminders, consider any fears or doubts that will move into your consciousness, and could keep you from reaching your goals. Being aware of them, before they rear their ugly heads, allows you the opportunity to plan how you will respond (thoughtfully and intentionally) when they do arise. Plan for their arrival and what actions you will take to counter them.

Finally, take a few minutes to think back over the last four weeks and our focus on Belief. Jot down a few thoughts or actions that have impacted you this month.

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact.

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Assuming you decided to move forward and act on the opportunity you wrote about yesterday, let’s make an action plan, then share it with someone whose opinion you respect and whom you trust. *

Ask that person for his or her candid feedback on your plan, then ask them to hold you accountable for taking the steps you need to take over the next 30, days; schedule some time with him/her to review your progress when that 30 days has passed.

What beliefs must you hold to step confidently into this opportunity?

What specific daily actions must you take to step into this opportunity?

What actions must you take that will fuel existing or allow you to develop new beliefs you must hold to fully realize this opportunity?

Be sure to schedule those actions on your calendar; after all, if they are not a high enough priority to hold space on your calendar, when will you take those necessary steps?

We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.  ~MaxDuPree

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact. 

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What opportunities lie before you today, that you don’t want to overlook for yourself or others? *

Describe it:

Now, imagine yourself — in relation to this opportunity — 3 to 6 months from today, assuming you acted on the opportunity. Describe who and where you (your team) will be in 3-6 months.

Imagine yourself in 3-6 months, if you don’t act on the opportunity. Describe what that will mean for you (your team).

What decision will you make — to act or let the opportunity pass?

 

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact. 

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Reflecting on my childhood today, got me thinking about today’s post. I grew up in Southern California, about 15 minutes away from Disneyland. Talk about an undertaking that required an undeniable belief in one’s dreams!

If you’re not familiar with Walt Disney’s story, and how he built his empire, I recommend you do some reading. The man clearly had a dream — several of them, in fact — and he didn’t let much stand in his way of reaching his goals and bringing his dreams to reality. Disney dropped out of high school, spent some time in France with the Red Cross, returned to the States and sought employment as a newspaper artist. That didn’t work, so he went to work for an art studio, where he met one of his first partners. Their endeavor didn’t last long, however, as Disney was not a good money manager; their studio went bankrupt. Undeterred, he moved to a studio in Hollywood, where he went into cartooning, animation, and story-telling.

Blessed with creativity and imagination, Disney dabbled in a lot of different things before deciding to build a theme park for children. He developed the idea in the late 1940’s, and the park eventually opened in 1955, and as you are surely aware, the Disney empire continues to grow and expand to this day.

Along the way, he faced and overcame numerous obstacles and challenges; faced with the same hardships, many people would likely have given up. Walt Disney had big dreams, however, and a firm belief in his ability to bring his dreams to fruition. For a long list of his accomplishments, you can look any number of places: Wikipedia, The Walt Disney Company, his biography, etc…

The point is, belief will fuel your results.

What results have you achieved because you believed in yourself and your abilities as a leader?

Write it down…

What have I accomplished?

How did my beliefs fuel those accomplishments?

What would I like to accomplish in my future?

How do my current beliefs support those dreams?

What do I need to believe — that I don’t believe today — in order to achieve success in this area?

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