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Posts Tagged ‘Taking action’

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?

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Over the course of my career — 24 years — as a professional communicator — I was frequently responsible for community relations. What that amounted to was interacting with various members, and organizations, within the communities where my employer did business. This could be participation in Chamber of Commerce activities, fundraisers put on by local/regional non-profits, Rotary, and other similar activities.

One thing that always stood out to me was this: People attending these so-called networking style events often stay in their little clusters of friends and colleagues…the same people they see all day at work!

I understand it from an emotional level. A lot of people don’t like having to strike up a conversation with someone they don’t know, or barely know. It leaves one feeling somewhat vulnerable and exposed. It requires us to step out of our Comfort Zones and take a risk. I speak from experience here; I would prefer to be on stage speaking to a full ballroom rather than have to walk into it during networking time only to be faced with countless tight clusters of people already engaged in conversation and have to try to break into one of the conversations uninvited.

But this defeats the whole purpose! If I make the effort to attend an event in my community, I am there to mix and mingle and get to know people outside my company. It’s an opportunity for a group of employees from one company to spread throughout the other attendees and function as Chief Marketing Officers for your organization; telling stories about what you stand for, what you offer, how you serve your clients, how you grow and empower your employees. It’s a chance for them to make important connections with people who may become a critical resource, a new employee, a new client at some point in the future.

And, yet, we allow fear and discomfort to hold us hostage and stay — safe — in our little clusters of office mates!

I was blessed to have a co-worker (still a valued friend and mentor) who pointed out the importance of doing “missionary” work. When attending any external function with any colleague (one or many), he encouraged the others to go off on their own and meet new people…and would simply walk away from you and model the behavior if you didn’t get started on your own. It was simple and brilliant! A practice I carried forward in my various roles with employers after that point. I admit, however, it didn’t make me popular among my co-workers; they appeared to resent my insistence they step out of their comfort zone and interact with strangers…but it’s important for the business.

How do you think about “missionary” work and what can you do differently the next time you’re in a networking kind of situation?

How might it serve you in your future endeavors?

How might it impact your business?

Come back and tell me your stories — I want to hear them!

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In many measures, being among this large a group might be a good thing, but in the case of today’s topic — Thinking — being in this particular statistic is not a good thing.

73% to 92% of people go through their day on Auto-Pilot

It should be astonishing, but if you are observant, you’ll not be surprised one bit. I say this because I believe you are not in that group. Just the fact you are here, reading this blog, is proof that you do think…you do, at least in part, go through your day with some intentionality.

I’m working through a process called the 4 Pillars of Mastery, developed by one of my Coach/Mentors, Christian Simpson. If you are interested in moving beyond your current level of achievement in life, and really propelling yourself forward, you’ll want to sign up for this (amazingly!) free program. Don’t be fooled when you do, however; it may be free in terms of a financial investment, but it’s far from free in terms of an intellectual, emotional, and introspective investment. Like anything else, you will get out of it what you put into it.

What I’m putting into it is a considerable amount of time, energy, and thought. You see, the results I’m experiencing in my life are caused solely by me; as are the results you are experiencing caused by you. So the only way I will improve my results is if I continue to improve myself at my THOUGHT level.

Today is the result of my best thinking — today. Fortunately, I have reserved the right to be smarter tomorrow, and I’m taking advantage of that reservation — every single day!

How much time do you dedicate to actual THINKING each day?

Do you have a special thinking place?

Do you use a journal, or other tools to help you thru your reflection, introspection, thought processing?

I highly encourage you to think on this today…and determine what you can do differently tomorrow to improve your results. I guarantee you, if you do this, you will win.

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Tomorrow (28 January 2014) will be the last day I am able to offer this for FREE!!! Write yourself a reminder to stop by Amazon and download it.

Get your free download of The ‘What Matters Most’ Manifesto! It will help you start down the path of creating more meaning in your life.

Share it with friends, colleagues, and family! Then, please, take a minute and review it on Amazon!

Remember: You don’t need to own a Kindle reader to get it. You simply need a Kindle Reader App, which will run on smart phones and tablets.

Click here on 28 January for your copy!

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I hit a new low last Friday, and it was a delightful experience. It was on my scale!

The number that appeared on my scale early Friday morning isn’t important to anyone except me, and truly even the number isn’t the most important thing about this experience. What is, is the person I’m becoming.

My son turned 7 years old at the end of November. In December, I was finally at a weight a few pounds lower than I was when I got pregnant. For most of that time in between, I wished I would lose the weight — and I had lost most of it, hovering near my pre-pregnancy weight for much of that time — and feel better and get back in shape, but I didn’t really do anything to make it happen.

About 18 months ago, I started making some changes in eating and drinking habits. Last July, I started doing DDP Yoga at least four times a week. It’s not the kind of yoga that encourages quiet meditation; it makes me sweat, twitch, and tremble, and I love it! I’m still making changes in my approach to health. I try to get a brisk walk in on non-yoga days. I eat smaller portions and healthier snacks. The lure of the fast food drive-in no longer has power over me. I quite drinking coffee every morning because when I really thought about it, it didn’t taste like anything. I have even (wait — are you sitting down? This is BIG!!) stopped eating chocolate chips by the handful every day! I do treat myself to a piece of chocolate now and again, and when I do, I savor every bite.

The most amazing part of this is my thinking has changed, which is the most critical part of all of this. For example, when I think I’d like a treat and remember how yummy chocolate chips are, it’s almost as if some protective shield drops through part of my mind and pushes me to the fruit bowl on the counter instead. And I don’t feel deprived when it happens; I feel powerful and focused.

In fact, in my mind I’m cheering myself on to continue making healthier choices and demonstrating healthier behaviors. I’m becoming more intentional and demonstrating that I have the discipline to follow through. This is the important part because it means I am becoming the person who can bring my dream into reality, and let me assure you — it’s a BIG dream! In fact, I’m working through a process with one of my Coach/Mentors who has given me a homework assignment: Rewrite my dream, 10 times bigger than it already is. WOW!

The bottom line is, it’s about creating a vision for what we want in our lives, then developing a plan and following through — with a  PROCESS — that will allow us to bring that vision into reality. What’s most important is following through with the process. Getting back to the process when we’ve allowed ourselves to get derailed by some other issue, distraction, or challenge.

What do you dream of being, doing, or having in your life?

What process are you following?

Who is in your inner circle — those people who will support, encourage, and push you to be the person you are striving to become?

What will you do when you hit a bump and get off track?

Who are YOU becoming along the way?

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Changing anything, if you want the change to be sustainable, requires a process. While it would be delightful (and nothing short of miraculous!) to be able to not eat any sweets for one full day — for example — and lose all the weight you want to drop and look amazing in your clothes the next day, we know it isn’t possible.

Making the change begins with an idea, a desire…to do, be, or have something different than your current conditions and circumstances allow. Once the idea has grown and developed and taken root in our minds, we must then make the DECISION to act. Action requires forethought, intentionality and commitment to continuing to act, DAILY!

Here’s an example. It’s the story of an Australian woman who recognized the need to make some significant changes in several areas of her life, and she started with one small, simple act: Gratitude posts on her Facebook page. Some days they were pretty mundane, some days more significant. The point is, she looked for reasons to be grateful, and found them! When she found them, she considered them and shared them. These are small, daily steps in the right direction.

I would imagine that on some days it was pretty challenging, other days might have been easier — with the challenge being more about which one thing to focus on out of many reasons to be grateful. As her year progressed, she made other changes in her behaviors, sometimes enlisting support from her friends (think — inner circle — those people who should support, encourage, and complement you).

It’s a process. Process begins with a single step, followed by more single steps, and before you know it, you’re on track and moving forward.

What is it you want to change about yourself or your conditions and circumstances this year?

What is the one simple step you can start with?

What will you allow to get you off track once you’ve started?

Whose support can you enlist to help you along the way?

Start today! You’ll be better for it.

Then come back and tell me what you did and how it felt. Looking forward to hearing your stories!

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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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