Posts Tagged ‘Doing the Right Thing’

No wonder I haven’t had clarity on how to best make the decision — I’ve been asking the wrong question!

Have you done this? You ask a question, or pray to whatever higher power you appeal to, looking for guidance and direction. When the idea or answer pops into your head –“Boom! There is its!” — you look toward the heavens and say, “Really? Are you sure?!”

Questioning the very response to that which you have been seeking! It’s really kind of comical when you think about it; at least it is to me.

So, I’ve become aware of some training that will allow me to add some additional tools to my coaching tool box, which will help me better serve my clients in achieving greater levels of self-awareness, resulting in higher levels of performance, and achieving whatever it is they endeavor to do. So, I asked the question: Should I or shouldn’t I enroll in this training?

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

The answer to that is obvious isn’t it? It’s either yes, you should, or no, you shouldn’t. Either response can be equally argued for, I’m certain. There are pro’s and con’s to either response, up sides and down sides to every option.

It would be similar to asking “is this the right thing or the wrong thing to do or say?” There will be pro’s and con’s to whatever answer you come up with for that question, as well.

Is this the right thing or the wrong thing to do?

The question I should have asked myself is this: Will taking this action move me closer to my goal? If the answer is “yes,” I should enroll in the course. If the answer is “No,” I should not enroll in the course. It’s truly that simple.

Will taking this action move me closer to my goal?


You see, I can talk myself into it and out of it within the same conversation. I can argue with myself about whether it’s a responsible use of my resources, or if I should save them for something else. I can view it from a perspective of scarcity — I have only so much time, energy, and money to invest in growing myself — or from a perspective of abundance — I will grow immeasurably from this experience, serve my clients more fully, therefore growing my financial resources over time as a result of this additional benefit I can offer.

Asking it that way, the answer is obvious. I should enroll in the course, continue to grow, and serve my clients. The only question now is, which location to register for? That one will require a little homework on travel costs!

I hope you now have a new perspective on how to evaluate the many options that appear in your life, especially when you’ve asked for guidance and direction. Rather than questioning the source of the answer you get, consider how doing or not doing whatever it is will serve you in your purpose.

If you don’t know your purpose, you have a different starting point entirely. From personal experience, I highly recommend working with a skilled coach or mentor.

Read Full Post »

I read this story a while back about a young woman whose bike was stolen while she was at work. She worked full-time to put herself through school, attending only part time, and the bike was her only source of transportation. Out of frustration, she posted an angry note to the thief on a nearby lamp post, knowing the thief would likely never see it; she said it felt good to “vent.”

Someone did see the note, tweeted a photo of it, and the story ended up on the news where it attracted the attention of someone who had had a similar experience when he was in college. He replaced her bike, with a catch: She would have to buy a bike for someone in need by her 59th birthday (within 40 years)!

I firmly believe in paying it forward and do so whenever I am able…sometimes even when I feel like it’s a stretch for me financially. It feels good. And it pays off. In recent months, at a local toll bridge I cross a couple of times a month, I’ve benefitted from the person in the car in front of me paying my toll (this is a habit I practice every time I cross the bridge), so I have paid the toll for the car behind me anyway. Usually, what I see in my side mirror as I drive away is the person in the car behind me pull their hand — with their money — back into the car and drive thru. Most recently, however, the truck in front paid for me, I already had a dollar ready (the toll is 50 cents per car), so I gave it to the toll taker anyway, and pulled away, watching the car behind me. The woman behind me also handed over a dollar…I’ve been wondering how many cars went thru that day — before and after me — before someone broke the chain.

I hadn’t thought about the concept of paying it forward with a catch, until I read this story, but I like it. On the one hand, we would hope someone would do this because they genuinely had a desire to give of themselves and help someone else. The truth is, I think, that most people are so busy being busy, they simply don’t think about these kinds of opportunities. And we often discover that people who are given what they need don’t value it as much as if they have to work for it or personally invest in it themselves…So, perhaps, by paying it forward with a catch — setting the expectation that the recipient also participate in paying it forward in some way — might jar enough people out of their habit of running on auto-pilot, and start them thinking about how they can make a difference in the life of someone else.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Perhaps buying a bike for someone else is not in your budget. That’s ok. But what about a toll on the road? Or a cup of coffee? Perhaps you could spring for someone else’s lunch?

What are your thoughts on this? What stories along these lines are you reading and how have they impacted your behavior?

Read Full Post »

How often have you heard someone say, “People are your most valuable asset.” I’ve heard it spoken countless times in interviews…and frankly, I’ve said it myself countless times. There’s a subtle difference here, though, and I’m certain you are already aware of it. Often, the people who say this are not sincere…they may want to believe it and may want to behave as if it were true, some even truly believe they treat their people as such, but it simply isn’t the case.

I truly do believe it. Technology can be bought and sold; the same can be said of machinery and equipment. The key difference maker in any business is the people. They build, run, and maintain all the “stuff” and have a choice, daily, to show up with 100% effort or not. They can choose to nurture your business or sabotage it. They can choose to take good care of your equipment, damage it deliberately, or allow it to fall into disrepair. They are the face of your company in your community, with your customers, vendors, and other partners.

All others things being equal, they can be your secret weapon! All that is required is treating them well…offering trust and behaving in a trustworthy manner; treating them with respect and behaving in a respectable manner; getting to know who they are and treating them as individuals with lives outside your business; and showing them genuine appreciation for what they have to offer and what they do for your business. This is as true for your vendors, customers, and other partners as it is for your employees.

If you haven’t given this much thought lately, I encourage you to spend some time with this today; get out your journal and answer these questions:

How would your partners, vendors, customers, and employees say you are showing you appreciate them?

How would they say you are at building trust with them?

What words can you use — backed up by consistent behaviors — that will help you demonstrate your appreciation, trust, and value for each of these groups of people who have the power to make or break you and your business?

What steps can you take today, and in the coming weeks, to ensure you are on track here and to make adjustments if needed?

What’s holding you back? Now that you are focused on this, and have some clarity around it, get started!

Taking excellent care of the people connected with your business is one of the best business strategies you can have!

Read Full Post »

I’m guessing you’ve spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and effort achieving whatever level you’ve attained in your life to-date. And while I’m certainly not suggesting you are close to being done, I do believe there is no time like the present to start thinking about, planning for, and taking action toward whatever legacy you want to leave.

What is the biggest need you see within your organization, your community, your family?

What skills, talents, experience, gifts do you possess that would be of benefit in this situation?

How could you give back in a meaningful way, in alignment with that need?

If the idea seems overwhelming, it needn’t be. Start small. Do something relatively easy for you to do, with a short-term commitment. Work your way up to taking bigger steps each time. You might be amazed at how impactful something is that you considered to be very small.

And if you’re not already a “giver,” I guarantee you will like the way you feel when you do give…selflessly.

Read Full Post »

Spend some time today thinking about someone who has given back to you or your organization. There are lessons to be learned here, if you are open to them.

Who was the person and how were/are you connected to them?

What did he/she do for you or your organization?

What lesson did you learn from their action?

How did you show your appreciation for their contributions?

If you haven’t done anything, yet, how can you show appreciation?

What impact will your showing appreciation to the person have on you today?

What example will you be setting for others?

Read Full Post »

As you are no doubt aware, building a legacy takes time. In fact, it takes intentionality, hard work, time, commitment, and the willingness to simply give — to be unselfish.

As we discussed yesterday, giving back is a critical component of building a legacy. Today, I encourage you to spend some time giving this idea some serious thought. Get your journal out and make two columns; the left side can be narrower than the right.

In the left column, make this list, running down the page: Time, money, ability, example, “stuff”, influence. Next to each item, leave some space for ranking.

In the right column, leave space for writing out examples of each item that you have to give.

Now for the ranking – rank each item in order of how much you are doing to build your legacy, with 1 being little or nothing and 6 being a lot. Then go back and write out what you are already doing in each area. Then, in a different colored pen, write out what you could be doing that would be more meaningful in each area. If you’re willing to really commit, put down some specific actions and deadlines, and then share your list with someone you trust, who will be willing to support you in this endeavor, and who will encourage you to hold yourself accountable.

I would love to hear what’s on your list; use the comments box below to share your thoughts!

Read Full Post »

I don’t mean to start this week off on a depressing note, rather, more so to wake you up. Each of us has a limited time on this planet; while we don’t know exactly what it will be, each of us has a definite “end date.” I assume, because you’re reading my blog, you have some interest in growth, leadership, and discovering your purpose in life. Well, as we talk more and more about legacy this month, I would suggest that part of your purpose — part of each person’s purpose — is to give back.

To share one’s talents, one’s wealth, one’s experience, one’s wisdom…After all, you can’t take it with you when you go, so why not make the most of it while you are here? Perhaps you might consider what it means to be a river rather than a reservoir.

If you need some examples, they are more than abundant, but here are a few you can look into:

Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own brand of dressings and salsas. While the business was started as sort of a joke between Paul and a friend, it turned out to be quite successful and a boon to a number of selected charities. Clearly, Newman didn’t need the income and there were (still are) plenty in need of what he had to offer. 100 percent of the proceeds from the Newman’s Own brand goes to a list of charitable organizations, and as of 2011, the brand had donated more than $250 million. Nor did he give just money; for years, Newman spent his summers with terminally ill children at his Hole in the Wall Gang Camps.

Bill and Melinda Gates are well known for many things, not the least of which is The Giving Pledge — an effort to enlist the wealthiest to pledge to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. The list of people who have made the pledge certainly reads like a “Who’s Who…” of the world’s rich and successful people: Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, Barron Hilton, and the list goes on and on and on…

This is not to suggest each of these people are perfect or performing on a higher plane. I share these thoughts only to get you thinking about legacy; clearly each of them (and numerous others not mentioned) has given it serious thought and they’ve taken action to ensure they leave a lasting legacy in some way that speaks of their passion and commitment, and desire to make a difference for someone, in some place, at some time.

My question to you today is this: How are you giving back to society?

If you aren’t already, are you thinking about it and considering a plan?

What causes speak to you?

What methods and models of giving are a good fit for you?

I discovered “anonymous acts of kindness” a few years ago, and take many opportunities to provide gifts and kindnesses to others. My recent trip to Guatemala was, in essence, a mission trip…fueled by my passion to teach leadership principles to those who yearn for change and growth. We make a number of charitable contributions throughout the year. I’d have to say, in my experience so far, that giving money is the easiest (unless you don’t have any!) but I find sharing my talents, knowledge, and experience with others far more rewarding…

I encourage you to find a need that pulls at your very soul, and find a way to feed it.

Read Full Post »

When you think of the word “legacy,” what person or organization comes to mind? Are you thinking of someone or organization because they left a positive legacy, or a negative one?

Why do you think their legacy made such an impression on you?

Think of it in terms of the ripple effect; envision the concentric circles formed in a pool when you drop a stone into it. The center-most circle is the first impression the person/organization made on you. The next ring is when they did or didn’t earn your trust. The third ring is what they did to maintain (or break) your trust and respect. The fourth ring is their current impact — what they are doing now, in real time. The outer-most ring is their future impact, and this one reaches the farthest.

What was your first impression?

What initially earned your trust and respect?

How does the person continue to earn/maintain your trust and respect?

What is the current impact of this person or organization?

How will tomorrow be different because of this person’s/organization’s impact?

Yesterday, I introduced you to one of my former leaders, Tom Stokes, CEO of Tree Top, Inc. My first impression of him was that he was a regular guy. When I interviewed with him, he was clearly comfortable in his role and in his skin. He was open, welcoming, treated me with respect and as if I had expertise the organization needed. While my position would be a couple of layers beneath his in the org chart, he treated me as if we were equals — equally valuable and with much to offer.

He was open, honest, transparent about the challenges facing the organization, and about its strengths. He had a vision and a plan for what he needed to do, and was building his inner circle to ensure he had competent, confident people around him to carry out the work. He was supportive and straight with me, even when circumstances called for difficult conversations. He conferred with his inner circle, gave serious consideration to the various inputs he received, and did not shy away from making the hard decisions.

While I’ve been away from the organization for five years, I understand he has not changed in these respects. I maintain my connections and friendships with former co-workers, and they respect him, as well. He’s done enormous good within the communities where the company operates, both in terms of financial support and through staff expertise and collaboration.

Personally, aside from everything I’ve said about him so far, he has proven to me that functional, healthy organizations do exist. And having worked for a number of them, I’ve personally experienced the opposite in terms of dysfunction and poor leadership.

Read Full Post »

Can’t believe we are starting the second half of this year, already. It seems like it was just January!

I’m sure you can think of leaders who have left a lasting legacy; some positive and some not so much!

When I ponder this concept, I think of Tom Stokes, long-time CEO of Tree Top, Inc. I worked with Tom a number of years ago, and have a great deal of respect for him. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked for 10 different companies, and Tom stands head and shoulders above any other executive I’ve worked for or with over the past 20+ years.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t put him on a pedestal as the perfect leader, but he did a number of things I’ve not personally experienced to-date. First, he worked his way up through the company, so he knew the organization from all angles. He was/is conscientious about building strong relationships with the people around him, both inside and outside the organization. He hires the talent he needs and empowers them to do what they were hired to do, respecting their expertise and listening to their advice before making decisions. He’s open, humble, has a good sense of humor, and knows what he’s there to do and who he’s there to serve.

I’ve been hearing he may be thinking of retiring in the next few years. If that’s the case, he’s certainly earned it, as he has carefully steered the company through many years — some quite prosperous and some quite bumpy! I imagine the Board will be hard pressed to replace him with someone of equal caliber.

There’s no doubt in my mind, Tom will be leaving a positive, lasting legacy.

As a leader, it’s critical that you behave in accordance with your espoused values. If you merely pay lip service to them, it will become quickly apparent, and will have a damaging affect on your effectiveness, credibility, and potential for accomplishing anything. However, when you are in sync with your value, and authentically model them over time, the ripple effects of your influence can be felt over the course of several generations.

Take some time today to consider how well you have modeled the values you claim to hold dear. What effect are you having on those around you?

Read Full Post »

By refusing to give up when life’s circumstances conspire against us, we powerfully model the value of perseverance.

Who is watching when you go through hard times in life?

How can you inspire them by the way you act?

What will they learn by watching you?

In 2002, I went through a life-changing leadership training program. During the five weeks I spent in this program, I was made aware that as a leader, one is always “on stage,” so to speak. Meaning, someone is always watching. Think of yourself as a role model, because you are influencing others around you about how to behave in certain situations.

So, will you teach them to persevere? Or to give up when times get tough?

You get to choose. I hope you choose wisely.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »