Archive for category Values

Ten Things I Learned This Decade

This list is inspired by the post “Top 10 Lessons from the Decade from Hell” on BNet.

  1. Getting away from family to attend college is the best decision you can make for yourself. Not only do you learn how to navigate the real world around you, the time you spend away from your annoying family members teaches you how to love them no matter what.
  2. Living in a sorority house teaches you the true meaning of “roll with the punches”.  You appreciate it and still live that way 10 years later.
  3. Putting up with the worst traits a person can have does not equal “true love”.  Or even real “love”. It just means you’re too lazy/scared/stupid to end things before they get bad.
  4. Be a student of Life, before you rack up the student loans. You’ll learn more about what you want to do in life after the age of 24… 25… and 26 than you could ever even guess to be your “passion” at the age of 18.
  5. Know what’s going on in the world, even if you are in the “safety net” of college — what’s happening now will impact your paycheck and standard of living in 3, 5 and even 10 years down the road.
  6. “The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.” – The Paradoxical Commandments by Kent Keith
  7. Always speak up. Even if your idea isn’t the final decision or the best out there… at least you gave people something to chew on, and likely gave them reason to ask for your input in the future.
  8. Always have a hand in your future (see above note). Even if you can’t completely control it, at least you tried. You don’t want to look back 10 years from now thinking, “Man, I wish I’d…” or “Dude, I should’a…”.
  9. Marry your best friend. You really need to like that person when all the exciting stuff dies down and you still have 50+ years to tackle together.
  10. Real leaders don’t have titles. You can always have a positive impact on someone else’s life, regardless of what position or role you are in, and most importantly… regardless of what your title is.   And in the end, all that matters are the relationships you have with other people, so make the best of them and do good for others.

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Values Focus: Trust Yourself, Hold Tight to Your Integrity

“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), philosopher, scientist, author

“When your views on the world and your intellect are being challenged and you begin to feel uncomfortable because of a contradiction you’ve detected that is threatening your current model of the world…pay attention. You are about to learn something.”—William H. Drury, Jr. (1921-1992), professor, author

“Confrontation should always leave a person’s dignity in tact.”—Dr. A. J. Anglin

“Ideas are only lethal if you suppress and don’t discuss them. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s stupid. Banning books shows you don’t trust your kids to think and you don’t trust yourself to be able to talk to them.”—Anna Quindlen (b. 1952), American journalist, columnist, writer

“Trusting your intuition means tuning in as deeply as you can to the energy you feel, following that energy moment to moment, trusting that it will lead you where you want to go and bring you everything you desire.”—Shakti Gawain (b. 1948), writer

“Depend upon yourself. Make your judgement trustworthy by trusting it. You can develop good judgement as you do the muscles of your body – by judicious, daily exercise. To be known as a man of sound judgement will be much in your favor.”—Grantland Rice (1880-1954), American sportswriter

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This Week Brought to You By “Determination”

Life’s been quite busy lately. There’s a lot going on with everyone — heartache, new adventures, a fresh summer ahead, new diets, birthdays, and anniversaries.  Sometimes, with so much going on.. we get overwhelmed and start to lose our gumption to keep movin’ forward.  When you get tired of running errands, facing yet another battle, always being on the go, or whatever this summer may hold for you… never forget what it is you’re working towards. Keep your determination, for seeing it through will be worth it.

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”—Nora Roberts (b. 1950), fiction author

“Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.”—Cynthia Kersey, author, motivational speaker

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember: An amateur built the Ark–professionals built the Titanic.”—Unknown

“Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient. ”—Eugene S. Wilson (1900-1981), Dean of Admissions at Amherst College

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot” —Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), U.S. First Lady, diplomat, human rights activist

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Searching deep for the intangible

Jason and I just had a really awesome conversation on our car ride home from Calvary about legacy and the kind of lives we want to live.  We’re both searching for our legacy, our purpose, what it is that we’re supposed to give this world.

Like I’ve blogged before, legacy isn’t something you start planning or thinking about when you’re approaching retirement age; it’s the way you live each and every day.  I struggle with the feeling that everything I’ve accomplished so far in life doesn’t amount to a hill of beans come Judgement Day.  My studies, degrees, memberships, and associations are impressive to some, indulgent to others, and lack fulfillment for myself.  They are things. They are fancy paper, well-formed ideas and philosophies, high-society networking that in the end…. mean very little.

We went to the funeral tonight for Jason’s great (x?) uncle, Frank French. The ulogies spoken about him were amazing tributes to not the things he did or accomplished, but the lives he touched. The lives he changed. The people he cared for and the ways in which he made them better just by being a part of their lives. He didn’t do it for the fame or the wealth, but he did it because that’s who he was. I wish I’d had the opportunity to know him.

I have been really surprised lately by the things I believe — mainly because I’d never considered myself a “religious” person and I’ve always felt disappointed by my lack of spiritual direction. Now that I’ve started taking steps to remedy that, I’m finding that things I was already doing or believed that were “just common sense” or the “right thing to do” were preached in the Bible.  They aren’t common sense to the mass population, and don’t come easily to most people.

Be who you are, not where you are.  Gods do not live among men.  Not all teachers teach great truth. There is no integrity in knocking other people down in order to feel tall.

A few years ago, one of my classes focused on servant leadership.  I fell in love with it.  I’d never even heard of the term, nor knew it was an area of intense study.  It just fit so well with my approach to life, that I assumed it was my “common sense” or kind heart leading the way.  I preach it in my leadership and training classes. We are finally starting to hear it from senior executives and some management. It’s not about the mergers you championed, the winning projects you managed, or the number of certifications you stacked up.

It’s about the people. The relationships. The lives you changed, simply by being YOU. That’s what I want for my legacy. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, feels like, or entails… but I know that my fulfillment, enjoyment, and passion lie in the ability to make someone elses’ life better, easier, happier, more filling, more exciting, more purposeful, more focused. It won’t be about the material things I have or provide others. It will be about the intagible meaning and enrichment I can bring to them. In return, I won’t be rich, famous, or otherwise on a pedestal. I’ll just be me. A fulfilled, happy, enriched me.

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Legacy has become a popular idea in management circles, particularly in regards to executive coaching and succession planning.  It’s usually encouraged for those approaching retirement age.

But think about what the term really means.  It has nothing to do with how old you are; it has everything to do with what kind of person you want to be every day of your life.

So, do you really think it’s appropriate to wait until retirement age to begin planning your legacy??

Start now.  What’s your legacy? Use the comments to share with me.

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I’m Like a River

Whenever I’m asked to describe myself, I often say “I’m pretty go-with-the-flow”. I use this to mean I don’t get hung up on things beyond my control and I tend to take each of life’s turns as a new trip to go on.

Sometimes people interpret “go-with-the-flow” as lazy or unmotivated to make change and take a stand against things that are important to your values. That is completely not the case.

So I’m changing my tune to say “I’m like a river”.

Rivers have a destination — most of the time they flow to the sea. As they run by their obstacles, they wear away a bit of the resistance. Over time, they erode the things that get in their way — sometimes they just wait until they have the power & resources to wash over them, sometimes they just knock ’em down altogether. Usually, they just patiently wait until their time has come.

Instead of head-on confrontation, rivers are good at easing by the obstacles in life, gently smoothing away the edges of resistance with reason and compassion. All the while trusting that loved ones will exert sufficient influence to keep me under control.

I’m like a river.

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In Need of a Pick-Me-Up?

I think part of surviving life is understanding the concept of tit for tat. We know that what goes up must come down. We know that the true nature of a free market system is that the lows are as great as the highs. Happiness tomorrow is that much sweeter because of today’s journey through the trenches. And so on.

When today is a struggle, when all the chips feel as tho they are stacked against you… when it seems like you’re the only asset you’ve got… know this: “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” —Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British statesman, prime minister, author, Nobel Prize winner

Here are some things I think about when the day seems impossible to get thru.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” —Confucius (551-479 B.C.), philosopher

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be road blocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” —Michael Jordan (b. 1963), retired professional basketball player, businessman

“Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.” —Harold Kushner

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” —Dr. Leonardo Buscaglia (1924-1998), professor, author

“Discipline isn’t just punishing, forcing compliance or stamping out bad behavior. Rather, discipline has to do with teaching proper deportment, caring about others, controlling oneself and putting someone else’s wishes before one’s own when the occasion calls for it.” —Lawrence Balter (20th century), psychologist, author

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou (b. 1928), poet

And when all else fails, go shopping.

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