Categories
Blog

What do I want?

Before you pick up the phone, walk in the door after work, write an email, or open an app, ask yourself this question?

What do I want to accomplish?

What do I want to feel? Or more importantly, what do I want someone else to feel?

What do I want in life?

Stop and pause for a moment before you do something. Are you acting impulsively, or if there is a reason, what is it?

Consider your behavior. Do your actions match your intentions?

The more you act with a purpose in mind, the more you consider the question, “What do I want?”, the closer you will get to where you are going.

Categories
Blog

Write every day.

When you organize a closet, you first remove everything and put it on the floor.

You then toss out what you no longer need, maybe the items no longer bring you value, perhaps they are better for someone else, or maybe they are garbage in need of permanent disposal.

Finally, you take the remaining items and return them to your closet only now they are neatly placed and ready when needed. You feel joy, having accomplished this task, and with that joy, you build motivation and positivity for the future.

This is what a daily writing habit can do for you. You take the mess of everything in your brain and dump it onto a blank page.

You get rid of unuseful items–old ideas, negative self-talk, lies, wounds, fears, anger, regret.

You keep what is beneficial–principles, happy memories, lessons learned, dreams, goals, loving and joyful thoughts, gratitude, commitments, true statements of your value as a human being.

You put these wonderful ideas in a safe place, read them, share them with people whom you trust.

You might develop the courage to share them publicly with people who need to hear what you have to say.

Try it. Get a paper journal, a journaling app, blank paper, a blank page. It does not matter. Commit to removing the junk from your brain and organizing the ideas worth keeping.

You might love the way you feel when you write every day.

Categories
Blog

The next small step.

It’s fun to dream. Taking action is hard.

A dream is precious. It’s perfectly intact, the exact way you see it.

The moment you start working towards a dream, you see the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

You begin to feel the pain of pushing against what seems like an immovable object.

Your feet are moving fast, pushing but nothing is moving, at least not from your perspective.

You lose faith because the effort you are putting in is greater than the results.

Big dreams don’t come in leaps and bounds. They are the result of millions of tiny steps.

When you get stuck, stop looking at the gap between you and your dream. Instead, focus on the next small step.

Categories
Blog

Two areas of focus.

I can come up with an idea a minute, but I can’t execute on any of them if I try all of them. And since the list of things I want to do, learn, and accomplish continues to grow, I decided I needed to change the way I approach my goals. This year, I decided to run my goals through two areas of focus.

A couple of books inspired this idea I read last year, The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) and Grit. 4DX talks about narrowing the scope of what you are working on because working on more than two projects will lead to completing zero projects. Grit talks about working at one thing over a long time because success comes from sticking it out past the hard parts.

For 2019, I am focusing on

1. Growing my relationships and network

2. Owning vs. running my company

Growing my relationships and network.

Leadership and entrepreneurship are lonely. Leaders can find themselves surrounded only by people who depend on them for something and as a result, they don’t experience true friendships. I have done a poor job developing my friendships and personal network for the last four to five years. When I look forward five years, I see my life filled with meaningful friendships which means. If this is going to be a reality, I have to start now. In the first ten days of this year, I have intentionally met up with more people than I did in all of 2018.

Owning vs. running my company.

The greatest leaders are also the greatest delegators. They cast a vision of the desired outcome, empower others to carry out that vision, and then support them with resources, education, and grace as they work to carry it out. They don’t figure out all the steps and then hand off the process. Historically, I have taken the second approach. This approach works until the business grew to the point where I am a bottleneck to growth. There is a long list of projects I need to complete, most of which are waiting for me to start. I have an all-star team at Envoy. Each is a brilliant problem solver, each is full of empathy, and each is a hard-worker. Every new project that comes up needs to be run through a qualification filter to make sure it is worth doing before I empower a leader in my company to own it. When I look forward five years, I will own several companies, something I cannot do if I am running all them the way I have been running Envoy.

The filter.

I commit to tabling any idea or project that falls outside of these two focus areas for the entirety of 2019. If it doesn’t grow my network, and it it’s something I cannot delegate to a capable leader, I need to save it for later. I hope

Categories
Blog

Delegation in seven steps.

  1. Choose to trust first.

  2. Provide clear expectations.

  3. Teach everything you know.

  4. Provide every resource you can.

  5. Offer support and grace for failure.

  6. Acknowledge effort.

  7. Celebrate progress.

    Effective delegation is more about your ability to serve than your team’s ability to work. When you serve well, your team will perform well.

Categories
Blog

On authority and influence.

The people who have led me the most effectively did it by making what they were doing more attractive, exciting, and interesting than what I was doing. They compelled me to change my behavior because I wanted the same experience they were having.

Authority makes us lazy. We choose to rely on our power instead of spending time and energy teaching, educating, and casting a vision for a better reality and a better future.

The next time you feel you have authority, consider investing in leading with influence instead.

Categories
Blog

Bring your own passion.

You can look into the world and try to find motivation.

Or…

You can view the entire world through the lens of your purpose and let that motivate you.

The first perspective will leave you frustrated. It’s passive. It says what you need is out there.

The second perspective means you already have everything you need. Your passion influences your actions. It’s a big giant why for when things get hard.

I want everyone who knows me to know they have everything need to live out their potential. Not that it’s easy–that it’s possible.

It breaks my heart when people don’t realize how much potential they have to improve their lives, to influence their situations positively, that it can always get better. I want people to know there is still a step they can take.

In my work, it means I must create a company where people not only love to work but that they also grow as a result of working there. That they are challenged and supported, high expectations combined with a high level of care for others.

I need to do a better job. I get distracted. I forget about it. When things get hard, I get down. I get trapped in my own head. I start feeling like life is happening to me.

I write every day so that I can stay connected my passion and purpose. It’s the reason I am sharing more on my blog. This daily discipline keeps me connected with what makes me tick.

Categories
Blog

Do it anyway.

It is day six of the New Year. You made resolutions. You have been doing pretty well. You are on the right track — good job.

Maybe today feels different. Today, doing the right thing feels like a chore. You don’t feel like doing it.

Do it anyway.

How you feel about doing something does not affect your ability to do it.

Listen, you have already made the decision about what you were going to do. Now it’s about showing up and taking that action. You won’t regret doing the right thing. You will regret letting yourself off the hook.

The biggest problem with regret is the negative self-talk that comes with it. The negativity turns into excuses, lying to you, telling you the goal was stupid to begin with, telling you it wasn’t the right time, or that you can’t do it anyway. So you quit because of one of these lies.

Don’t quit. Whatever goal you set out to accomplish, it’s worth it. You are worth it, and you owe it to yourself to take action even though you don’t feel like it.

One more note, don’t beat yourself up. That regret, that negative self-talk in your head when you don’t “do it anyway” is a lie. Don’t listen. Keep going.

Imagine how you are going to feel at the end of this month knowing you didn’t quit or knowing that you missed a day and got back on track. I promise you it’s going to feel good.

Categories
Blog

Grit. A book report.

Happy Saturday and welcome to a mini book review of “Grit” by Angela Duckworth.

Who succeeds and who doesn’t. Angela argues it’s not the most capable, the smartest, most athletic, most connected, that accomplish their goals, but the ones who don’t give up. She calls this grit.

What makes some people gritty and others not? Upbringing has a lot to do with it. One commonality is people who participated in an extracurricular activity and had people in their lives who did not let them quit when it got hard. It did not matter if this was an athletic, musical, or academic endeavor, doing something hard and not quitting is essential. Having people around who say, “You can’t quit,” or “You can do this,” or even more importantly, “I expect you to do better,” helps build gritty people.

Some people are gritty by nature. They operate with the imperative they have something to prove. Maybe it’s to themselves, may it’s to others, but they will not allow themselves to be proven wrong. They must succeed.

If you can be gritty by nature, or gritty by nurture, I start thinking about two ideas. How can I become more gritty? How can I raise gritty kids?

I love Angela’s practice of “hard things.” Everyone in her family has to pick a hard thing they pursue. Everyone gets to choose their hard thing, and they can’t quit when it gets hard. They have to stick it out until a natural end point like the end of a season or a year. If they choose to quit the hard thing at a logical endpoint, they have to replace it immediately with something else. The reason is Angela’s research points to grit developing through the practice of pushing through difficulty.

Angela also makes the point that underprivileged kids, especially from poor communities, have the fewest opportunities to learn grit through nurture than their privileged peers. They lack access to sports, music, the arts, and extracurricular activities because their communities and schools lack the funds to provide these programs. The same goes for children from broken families where there are not adults in their lives who both encourage them and hold them accountable to persevere through conflict and difficulty, and it breaks my heart. It also makes me inspired by what an organization called Goshen Valley Boys Ranch does for foster kids in Cherokee County.

I am so fortunate to have parents who got this right. A father who set high standards and taught me to “Always do your best!” A mother who believed I could do anything and always filled me with encouragement. Parents who both demanded high effort, who encouraged and celebrated achievements, who comforted me when I failed, and who never let me quit anything ever. Thank you!

Buy the book.

Take the Grit Scale test.

Check out Goshen Valley Boys Ranch and maybe even donate.

Categories
Blog

How are you going to respond?

Since I started my blog over from scratch, I am revisiting my core beliefs which I have previously written and reevaluating them to see how they fit now.

At the end of 2017, a key employee told me he was leaving our company to start a business. I did not expect him to do this whatsoever, and I was still able to handle the news with a clear mind and a relatively clear emotional state. I had already decided how I would respond to this situation.

An idea which has had a profound impact on my life, that is when I remember to put it in place, is this: decide ahead of time how you are going to respond to situations you may come across.

A response is different than a reaction because a response is premeditated while a reaction is in the moment. A response is created with a clear mind and based on logic. A reaction is created with high emotion and based on impulse. Reactions are dangerous.

The exercise looks like this. Schedule time periodically to think about circumstances which may come up in the future. These situations can be good or bad. You get fired. You get a bonus. Someone insults you. You get a compliment. You get rejected. You get a yes for the opportunity of a lifetime. You will come up with different situations each time you do this, and that is the point.

Next, with a sound mind, think about how you are going to respond. How do you want other people involved to feel? How do you want to feel? What questions will you ask? What will you say? What do you want the outcome to be, and what will you do to influence that outcome?

Build toolkit of planned responses. When the situation comes up, you will be less emotional and less overwhelmed because you have already encountered the situation and decided your response. You must now only execute.