More Than Motivational Monday December 9th, 2019

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
-Albert Schweitzer

Leadership means that you are being watched all the time. Yet, we spend more of our time on words and not actions.

Most of the leaders we see in our businesses use a lot of words. Words are the pseudo leader’s stock in trade.

Those who speak like the leaders above them get recognized. Use the right jargon, the newest corporate speak, spout out the latest leadership books and motivational You Tube videos, and everyone assumes they are a good leader. It is what they have learned from those around them. And as we look around there are many that have gotten ahead working within this model.

Illusionary leadership. That is all this is. We don the cloak of looking like a leader, talking like a leader, and we fit into the leader club. Soon enough we are treated like a leader. It is rampant, and so pervasive that we actually have begun to believe this is leadership.

That disconnect is why we need a million different leadership books on how to look and talk like a leader, and most miss the point.

Our actions will be judged intuitively by those around us, far more than what we say.

Leadership is influence. It isn’t a title. It isn’t a position.

The key to influence is to live your mission.

Be an example to others, always, even when you think no one is looking. Being an example is a function of character. And character is lacking in much of our modern conversation about leadership.

It is one of the main reasons many of the leaders I talk to are frustrated because they feel like they are doing all the “right” things and still not getting the results they want “from” their people.

I’ve been guilty of this myself. I had to take a good step back and look at each of the things I was doing. Not what I was saying. My intentions didn’t matter. What mattered was how my actions were influencing the people around me.

When there was a slight misalignment it showed up, in the actions I was taking. And those around me just weren’t as bought in to what we were trying to accomplish.

We all want to believe we have good character. That we are leaders and not managers. That we have principles. And while for a lot of people this may be true, from their own vantage point, they have not looked at their actions, their example, their character closely enough to realize that what they are doing is tainted.

Dig in deep to your mission. Take a good deep look at your actions and ensure they are aligned with your mission. If not, whoa, you’ve got some work to do.

Mission is more important than ego.

Saturday Motivation 12/7/19

It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.
– Adlai Stevenson

Being self conscious of how we look gets in the way of our mission.

Worrying about how we look is a recipe for failure. We will forever have our eyes on the wrong thing.

Our minds create a spotlight on our perceptions magnifying everything. We think we look stupid, we are embarrassed, and we distort everything around us.

And all of this is emotionally draining and we are putting our energy into something that isn’t helping our goals. Whether they be speaking up in a meeting, having fun at a party, or helping our favorite charity. We are letting our minds get the best of us because we fear being who we are.

Let others spend their time judging. Your job is to get on that horse and ride. There is a lot of work to be done, and not much time to do it.

Remember, everyone thinks they have a spotlight on them. Most will be blinded by their own spotlight. They will barely see what you see and they will barely remember what ever it is that is consuming you.

Quit being blinded by your personal spotlight and get the work done.

Friday Five -Words to Anchor the Day

Provoke – Deliberate – Stimulate- Intentionally – Consciously

Words have meaning. They are the form of our thoughts. And the best words, bring us from thought to action. My Friday Five, all center around the type of action I take. To consciously and intentionally, with deliberate purpose, provoke action that stimulates good in the world.

Today these were top of mind.

In each coaching session I did, with the fellow entrepreneurs that I messaged, the content I created and the posts that I continue to grow online. I came back to these words and asked, do each of these things create action? And specifically the kind of action that motivates and inspires more positive action.

What did you do today? How did you anchor yourself to your mission? Or do you hope that what you are doing fits into what you believe?

It is common for most of us to let our days over take us. To float through them, based on our calendar and the constant pull from others on our time. I overcome this natural tendency by anchoring my day with intentionality. Will there be some drift and float as I meet unexpected challenges and interruptions to my time. Absolutely. At the end of the day, having these anchors spelled out at the beginning of the day, helps me bring it back to center.

Ultimately, this helps not only for prioritization and keeping my theme of the day, but allows me to feel more fulfilled at the end of each day.

What are your five words for the day?

Monday Motivational December 2, 2019

We need new experiences to grow. To face challenges and the unknown – these are at the heart of experiences.

Day in and day out, the comfort of sameness does not lead us on a journey of exploration. There is no new experiences, no new learning, no growth. With comfort, we are alive without living.

Embrace the discomfort.

Our minds will play all sorts of tricks on us to keep us safe. It will talk you out of every good idea you’ve had within seconds.

Doubt will creep in, logic or emotion will overtake, and you won’t take the first step. This is why waiting for motivation to do things causes a lot of wasted time.

It takes a sheer force of will, and amazing amount of motivation to overcome the daily habit response that overtakes you.

Eeach time you don’t speak up in a meeting, when you had something to say, and don’t because you are afraid – you are given more evidence on why it would be a bad idea to speak up. And the cycle continues. You are proven correct that you need to stay in the safe zone.

And nestled in the zone of safety, carbon copy days go by, then months and years, and you don’t grow. The world keeps moving forward. But you are safe.

We are not meant to be safe. We are not meant to sit on the sidelines of our own life.

Take charge. Get in the discomfort zone. Make it your own. On the other side is know how, is experience, and you can then begin to teach others.

Monday Motivation November 25, 2019

You can never really know anything. You certainly can’t know everything.

–And even if you could, it would be boring as all get out.

The act of knowing is the end of seeking, of finding, of questioning. It is the end of knowledge. The death of experience. 

And still, being unsure doesn’t feel good. The firm ground of confidence feels much better than the uncertainty of the unknown.

There is a difference between confidence and certainty. And this is where, we must learn to live in discomfort. To have confidence in our ability to figure it out and to learn.

This is free will. Having the unknown, and not really ever knowing the “right ” path. Otherwise, everything would be written in stone, and we would not have adventure that comes with truly being free.

Embrace the suck.

Friday Motivation November 22, 2019

*Photo © J. Marcus Ross

Safety is an illusion. Security a prison. We are chained to our fear and desire for comfort. 

To soar you need freedom, but you’ll be very far from the safety of the ground.

I’ve thrown all caution to the wind, and have embarked on a journey to freedom. Throwing off the shackles of other peoples expectations, of my own desire to fit in and be liked. I have unchained myself.

It is exhilarating. It is terrifying. 

These are the things I’m doing. May these words help you in your own personal uprising.

Conquer those fears.

Make them work for you. Turn those fears around, so that you feed off of the fear, and make that energy work for you.

You cannot be free and safe. So embrace it, and you never know what you’ll be capable of accomplishing – until you do.

Thursday Motivation November 21, 2019

Things aren’t upsetting. Circumstances just are what they are.

It is our feelings that we attach to these things. Our judgments of good and bad regarding those things, that is what upset us. Remove the judgement, the expectations, the feelings about things that happen in your life. This is what causes stress, gives fuel to anger, and gets in the way of making good decisions in life.

While there is no objective truth. We can practice some objectivity in our daily lives. Objectivity takes changing our perspective. Viewing what is going on without the emotional quality that comes by allowing words to trigger us, whether those words are spoken by someone around us or in our own minds. Our words and emotions provide the color that makes us feel that something is bad. We first have to Stop.

Stop our thinking in its tracks. Pause and relax. Don’t think. Let your emotions begin to recenter. Get out of your head. Think about the here and now.

Not what might happen, could happen, your afraid will happen. Not how you feel about what happened. Try stating what happened as a fact. Practice this, and you’ll see how much of what you state as a fact is actually feeling, judgement, added color.

Begin to get good at this, and it won’t purge all emotion and you won’t become a robot. You will start to take back some control of how you respond and your perspective will change.

If you knew you were going to die today, would an email from your boss sharing their concern that the client could decide to pull out of a deal, be something you would choose to get triggered about. No, your perspective would be different.

Treat each day, like today could be the last, and you’ll start to wonder does all this silliness really need to cloud my day.

Practice this and your day will be considerably more enjoyable.

Wednesday Motivation November 20, 2019

Life kicks everyone’s ass at one point or another.

Don’t let it get you down, or turn you into someone you are not. Taking it out on others doesn’t do any good. And it isn’t nice.

Take the ass kicking.

Learn from it.

Allow yourself to grow.

It is a rite of passage and no one ever became anything worth a damn by having it easy. When you pass through to the other side, you will have learned a lot and you will be less likely to have the same thing cause you the same level of problems because you’ll be more prepared. 

When we let ourselves, we are very good at overcoming obstacles.

If we wallow, become ungrateful for what we have, spiteful to the universe,  and upset with those around us for not being in the same place we are right now, that is a function of our true character.

Only you are responsible for your life and how you respond to it.

We each have an amazing capacity for growth, compassion, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

Be the best you.

Tuesday Motivation November 19, 2019

*Photo © J. Marcus Ross

Death is the cessation of life, of experiences.

Fear of the ultimate end of experience, clouds the experiences of our lives. To worry and fret over something that you cannot control. Death is built into our very being. We are born into this world, and then we leave this world.

This is not a depressing thought.

Depressing is that there are so many people walking around like zombies. Animated but not living, not experiencing. To have years and years to experience all that this world, this life has to offer and not make the most of it, that is death.

The fear, to me, comes from not really living life to its fullest.

We should regularly remind ourselves that we will die. Shake ourselves out of our reverie and our complacency. Find a way, to suck the marrow from each day.

And as our Italian friends say, “Vivere la vita al massimo!”

We must live life to the fullest, or the very gift of life that we have been fortunate enough to have been given is squandered. This is the first and most important step in living our life with purpose.

To live and experience.


Monday Motivation November 18, 2019

Our potential for happiness is limitless.

Our mental energy isn’t.

Are you spending your precious energy on people who aren’t worth it. Harboring resentment? Clinging to the wrongs of the past?  Reliving past hurt of someone, who did something that hurt you?

It’s one thing to cut toxic people out of your life. It’s another to give them free room and board in your mind.

Let it go. And hand out the eviction notice.

This has been one of the most profound things I’ve worked on in my life. Most of my energy has always gone into ideas, into purpose and not into talking about people. Occasionally, I’ve allowed someone to get under my skin. I’ve given up my power, and allowed pettiness to overtake. I wrapped it in all kinds of righteous indignation and personal principles. In the end, I’d been bitten by a snake and I let the venom keep doing it’s job.

Forgive and forget. Move on. However you want to look at it, but it is time for you to kick them out of your head.

Why are you giving power over you to someone else?

When you hold on to these feelings, replaying them over and over in your mind you are poisoning yourself.

Quit stewing over the past, over slights and wrongs, over what happened, over what people have done to you…stop clinging to negativity and expecting positivity in your life.

Move on. Use that brain space for moving yourself towards your happy space. Meeting your goals. Helping others. Being grateful for what you have and who is in your life.