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Cornerstone Leadership

Building You Better

Everyday Leadership #52: What Are You Saying? 

Feb 1, 2023 (2 min read)

What are you saying to yourself?


Yesterday afternoon, my 4-year old decided he would make his own lunch. He decided what he wanted and grabbed what he needed out of the pantry. Getting his food ready, he needed to open a jar of a spread for his sandwich. The lid was on fairly tightly, but he went to work on it anyway.


While he was trying to open the jar, I heard him quietly talking to himself. I paused to pay closer attention to what he was saying, and this is what I heard:


"I can do this. I'm strong enough. I can open this."


So awesome and inspiring to listen to him speak to himself so positively and with such encouragement. Listening to him made me question how it is we speak to ourselves regularly and especially when we face difficulty.


In my personal experience, I've more than a few times found myself saying negative things to myself or thinking pessimistically about myself. The reality is, though, that I'm my biggest fan. You should be your biggest fan, too.


During my race over the weekend, I found myself facing a challenging situation. I was running, my feet hurt, it was cold, and the race course was snowy and icy making the run that much harder. In the middle of it, I heard myself saying and thinking things that weren't encouraging and decided I had to change my internal conversation.


I made up my mind and started saying the affirmations I have written on a card on my mirror. Within just a couple of minutes, my breathing changed and my attitude improved. My physical stamina improved.


What I learned from watching my son and reviewing my race experience this weekend is that what you say to yourself matters. It matters a lot.


Encourage yourself. Be positive with yourself. Say the things that will motivate and inspire you, and stop criticizing yourself. Avoid cutting yourself down or identifying all the things you think you're doing wrong. Stop finding fault with yourself consistently.


While it's important to recognize we all have room to improve, what we say to ourselves on that journey matters a lot. Stay positive and believe you can and you will.


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #51: Mindset

Jan 30, 2023 (3 min read)

Success this weekend!


Saturday morning, in the snow, I ran my first race of the year. I'm not fast. I'm not a top competitor by any means. But I did it. I finished 1 minute 20 seconds faster than my Thanksgiving Day race.... and I did it while running on a snow covered and icy trail.


And to finish out, I jumped into a frozen lake.... water at roughly 28 degrees. I had a moment where I thought I shouldn't do it, but it passed quickly. When the time came, I jumped and just did it.


Exhilarating!


Then, the rest of the day was coaching my 2 sons on their basketball games.


Both games were some of the most physical games we've played yet. My one son looks like he sprained his thumb while my oldest son likely broke his nose near the end of his game. Both gutted it out, and both won.


Both games were close right to the end.


My one son's team went back and forth the whole game. With a few minutes to go, they were tied but finally broke free and went ahead by a basket. They held on for the win with a minute to go.


My older son's team was down by 2 with 30 seconds left. The other team had the ball and were ready to stall and hold on for the win.


They were inbounding under our basket. We pressured them heavily, and as they made their pass, we stole it right under the basket and scored to tie it up. A quick transition and missed shots between the 2 teams turned into a foul on one of our players on a shot. He made 1 of 2 free throws to put us up by 1 with 3 seconds to go. They passed the ball in quickly and heaved a desparation shot nearly 3/4 the length of the court that fell far short of its target. We won by 1.


What was the difference maker in both games, and how is that related to me running and jumping in a frozen lake?


Mindset.


While both teams fully contributed to their wins, each team had an X-factor.


Guage, on my younger son's team, relentlessly attacked the basket. And he defended the other team's best player. During a timeout, we encouraged him to continue to attack and to not let their best player score. He looked at me and with a determined smile that showed his grit, he patted his chest and said, "He won't get away from me, Coach. He's not scoring on me."


My older son's team also had a player who tirelessly attacked the basket. He went full speed the whole game both offensively and defensively. He ended up on the floor more than any other player during the game, going after loose balls and getting knocked down and hit by guys easily a foot taller and well heavier than him. But, his mind was made up. He made the steal at the end of the game, made the basket to tie the game, and made the free throw to win it.


And me? I'm no hero like these boys, but I decided months ago I was running and jumping in that frozen water. I didn't hesitate when it was time because my mind was made up.


Lesson learned: There's nothing more powerful than when you make up your mind. That's always the difference.


#buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #50: Taking Opportunity

Jan 24, 2023 (3 min read)

It was a hard-fought and tough game Saturday evening, but we scratched out the win late in the 2nd half.


My son's team sat tied at half time, wondering if we would lose another game in the second half. We had lost 2 earlier in the season where we literally collapsed in the 2nd half of those games, getting blown out by teams we should have competed with. We had been working hard in practice lately on hustling and playing aggressive defensively. We knew it would take great decision-making and execution to win this one.


The 2nd half started, and the game continued its back and forth motion right where it left off - like a kid on a swing going back and forth effortlessly kicking their legs and enjoying the ride. They would score. We would score. They would miss a shot. We would miss a shot.


The momentum finally shifted part way through the 2nd half when we stopped them and then scored to take the lead for the first time in the game. The energy in the gym surged. The boys were hungry and it showed.


Every possession the other team had the ball was more difficult than the last the last 7 to 8 minutes of that game. Every pass was tipped. Every shot that they missed turned into a desperate fight for the ball. And every loose ball saw hands and bodies fighting relentlessly for it, like a hungry man searching for a meal.


My boys showed up with a hustle and heart I hadn't seen before. Nearly every loose ball had our hands on it... diving on the floor, sacrificing their bodies, reaching and sprinting every play to not give even an inch to the other team, taking every opportunity given to them to win that game.


And they did win. And the celebration began. The excitement and joy they felt (myself included!) was inspiring and overwhelming.


The difference in that game was simple. Their hustle and heart led them to take every opportunity given to them in that game. The believed that every loose ball was theirs, and they fought for it. The even created their own opportunities by executing defensively, tipping passes and blocking shots. Every play was an opportunity to be taken. They just had to be willing to take them - and they were.


Life often treats us the same way. Opportunities are regularly right there in front of us. Sometimes they're easy to see, and sometimes we have to create them ourselves. The difference for those who win in life is that they are willing to take those opportunities and run with them, and other times they create their own and win anyway.


What opportunities are right there for the taking with a little hustle and heart for you? Taking #opportunity just might be what helps you win today.


#takingopportunities #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #49: Have You Played Build Up?

Jan 16, 2023 (3 min read)

Have you ever played the game Build Up?


The object of the game is to strategically place uniquely shaped blocks in a balanced position so the tower can be built as high as possible. Each block can only touch the last 2 blocks on the tower, and the blocks you use are determined by selecting 1 of 3 cards randomly dealt to you that indicate which blocks you can use. Everyone takes turns, one block at a time, and each block has a different point value. Don't be the one to topple the tower or the person who went just before you gets the points!


My sister-in-law and her family have been here the last few days, and one of our favorite things to do together is play games. And we played Build Up last night.


After several rounds, we got to the round shown in the pictures. We started building, and of course, everyone was competing, trying to make the next person's turn more difficult so they could get the points. Funny enough, though, about half way up, the attitude in the family changed. We saw a tower that seemed improbable and that definitely could not take another block - or could it?


We moved from competition to collaboration. Everyone was helping everyone else to see how high we could build it. We talked through which cards to select together, even when it wasn't our turn, and coached each other on how to place the blocks.


And the tower grew to the highest tower I've ever seen playing the game...until finally, it fell.


I observed 2 key lessons from this experience last night:


First, a common vision of what can be - the potential in the situation - unifies a team. It drives out competition and self-preservation in the pursuit of a common goal.


Second, balance can be achieved in everything, but it comes at a cost. Balance is delicate and only takes one thing being ever so slightly out of balance to topple the whole structure. Balance is not the ideal. Building up strategically and in a way that compliments each piece's strengths and characteristics allows more to be achieved in a way that can withstand adversity better in the long run (ie the table shaking or a slight bump while placing the next piece).


And so it is with life and leadership. Vision unifies. Find one that inspires you, your organization, and your family. And instead of seeking for balance, pursue a more strategic approach in life, recognizing that there is no one right way to build up your life. Each part of your life has unique characteristics and strengths that can compliment one another and make you stronger in the long-run.


And if you're looking for a fun game that everyone can play, give Build Up a shot!


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #leadership 

Everyday Leadership #48: Don't Measure Yourself by the Gap

Jan 10, 2023 (2 min read)

How do you measure yourself?


Do you constantly compare yourself to others and their success? Do you look at what you've done and regularly run through your list of "should haves" and "could haves"?


I should have done this better...

I could have done that better...

Next time I should....

This time I could...


While we should always look forward to maximize our true potential and growth, measuring ourselves against "the gap" won't help. The gap is the space between where you are and where others are OR where you think you should be. It's a negative mindset that imposes a great shadow over who you are and what you've accomplished and can accomplish.


Instead of measuring the gap, measure yourself by how far you've come.


Look at your progress and growth over time, knowing that your goal is to always move forward - to grow more. But who you are today should be a measure of how far you've come, not how far away you may be from where others are today. Comparison...measuring the gap...is the thief of joy.


Stop measuring the gap and start measuring your progress.


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #growth #success #stopmeasuringthegap 

Everyday Leadership #47: Lessons from A Wrestler

Jan 9, 2023 (3 min read)

I have several nephews who wrestle. One of them is particularly inspiring when you read about his recent experience told by his dad, my brother-in-law Peter Schmidt;


"I have 2 sons that wrestle. One

places at national tournaments and is 27-0 on the season. My other is a 95 lbs freshman with cerebral palsy.


We have to modify how he wrestles because of this and it's a tough task. He is 2-12 on the year for JV, and those [wins] are his first 2 wins in 3 years.


Every day he shows up and grinds for 2 hours. We have frequent talks about goals where he vents his frustrations with his condition. But he keeps showing up and grinding.


Our starting 103 lbs [wrestler] was injured [so tonight my son] wrestled Varsity. We knew it would be a close duel and

told everyone we couldn't give up [any] pins.


We won the duel 36-34 where

they won 7 matches and we won 6.


He lost 9-0 but fought off his back every time and didn't get pinned. All of his other losses this year have been by pin.


When he came off he

was disappointed but said, "he didn't pin me."


It won us [the team] the duel. If he would have been pinned, we would have lost 36-36 on criteria. Never been anything but proud of this kid. He felt like the champion he is tonight when I explained to him what

that effort meant to the team.


Love this kid and it has nothing to do with his win loss record!"


This story represents so many good lessons.


1️⃣ Every member of the team adds value

2️⃣ When you understand how you add value and contribute, your self-value increases

3️⃣ Great coaching, like his dad exhibited, helps connect effort to contribution and outcomes

4️⃣ Leadership is painting a vision and giving clear expected outcomes so the team knows what is necessary to succeed, just like the coaches did for these boys

5️⃣ Leadership is gratitude and love and showing that to the team

6️⃣ Growth comes from small successes built upon one another over time

7️⃣ True effort is invaluable

8️⃣ Losses are a part of winning and sometimes the most important part

9️⃣ Great leaders see the champion in everyone and set them up to reach their potential

🔟 Inspiration is all around us if we'll pay attention a little more


Hopefully you are as inspired by this story as I am to be better, to lead better, to understand your role and contribution better, and to give all you've got a little bit better today and going forward. Happy Monday to you!


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #learn #grow #success 

Everyday Leadership #46: If they don't know what they're doing wrong, they can't fix it.

Jan 5, 2023 (3 min read)

We lost our last 2 games by over 20 points. That was tough to handle for our basketball team after winning our first 2.


As the coach, I identified several things we could improve on as a team and likewise individually. I spoke with my son, who is on the team, about it first and asked him for feedback on my coaching. I asked him if how I was coaching was effective and helping and asked him to point out things I could improve.


Then, I asked him about giving feedback to each player individually and not just as a team. As I've watched my boys play, I've become aware that they seem sensitive and withdrawn to feedback - especially when it's something to improve. And it's made me cautious in how I've coached them.


My son, though, said what I needed to hear. He said, "Dad, if they don't know what they're doing wrong, they can't fix it."


Great wisdom from my 14 year old, which showed me not only a great attitude but a great desire to compete and win and to learn and grow. And it showed me the type of coach I needed to be and these boys needed me to be.


So at practice after warmups, I told the team I was there to coach them to be better and reassured them that I love them and think highly of their skills and abilities to play the game. Them I told them I was going to share individual feedback with them that might seem critical but was coming from a place of a desire to make them and our team better.


Then I challenged them to take the feedback and put in the work. I told them I was going to push them harder than I had been to see how far we could go.


They all accepted the challenge and agreed to be pushed.


Our practice was one of the best we've had all season. And all thanks to the reassuring wisdom from my son.


I'm excited about our next practice and what's to come with the rest of our season. And I'm excited to be a better coach to this team. Now that I know what I've done wrong, I am now fixing it to be better.


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #coaching 

2023: What Do You Want to Become this Year?

Jan 2, 2023 (2 min read)

2 years ago on New Year's Eve, I asked everyone in my family to share what they're 2 or 3 big accomplishments were for the year. It was amazing to listen to each of my kids and my wife share!


I did the same thing again this New Year's Eve, and again, it was amazing. From stretching themselves to try new things to excelling in school and sports to making good friends, my family inspires me.


Then, yesterday, I decided to take this activity one step further. I bought everyone a journal, and every Sunday we're going to sit together and answer 1 question a week and then share with each other our answers and thoughts. My oldest daughter inspired our first question this year:


⭐️What do you want to become this year?


Asked another way, who do you want to become? What type of person do you want to work on becoming this year? What kind of growth are you looking for?


The answers were again amazing... and funny.


From my 4 year old - a bunny... a good boy, too, but mostly a bunny (his favorite animal).


From my 6 year old - a doctor or a janitor.


From my other kids and myself and my wife:

-A better brother

-A positive person

-The MVP of my team

-More organized

-More active

-More fit

-More confident in myself

-The type of person others want to be around


It motivated me to hear them share their focus and to see their vulnerabilities as well. Some of us said it wasn't very comfortable to share these things together. It helped reinforce that everyone is a work in progress and that we all have opportunities to continually grow and improve. And it helped us see we can work on this together as well.


So here we go 2023. Me and my family are working on growth this year - on becoming the type of people we want to be every day.


What do you want to become this year?


#becoming #growth #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #45: Life is Connection 

Dec 24, 2022 (2 min read)

I ran to the store yesterday to pick up a few last minute items for Christmas. A couple of my kids were with me, and we realized after a minute we needed help finding one of the things we were looking for.


Alforno was nearby working in the produce section, trying to keep up restocking with the craziness of the holiday season. I walked over and asked him to point us in the right direction. After he helped us, which only took a second, I asked him where he was from.I noticed he had a heavy accent and was just curious.


He said Argentina, and I responded back to him in Spanish. He immediately smiled, and for the next few minutes we chatted in Spanish. I shared with him that I learned Portuguese and speak that comfortably but had only studied Spanish in high school a long time ago and wasn't very proficient with it. He invited me to come practice with him any time I'm at the store.


As we left, we wished each other a Merry Christmas and were on our way. My son commented he really enjoyed the interaction. I asked him why, and he said it just made him feel good to make that small connection with Alforno even for just a few minutes.


What's great is my son didn't even talk with Alforno. He just listened and smiled. But in that moment and being a part of that interaction, he felt something. He felt the power of CONNECTION.


Of all the things that are important today, there are few more important than connection. It's what we crave and often seek for in the wrong places. It weaves us together and is the fabric of life that gives feeling and meaning to our relationships. It's deep, and it's real.


Our few minutes in conversation with Alforno gave us the opportunity to connect. It didn't take much - a little effort to ask a question, a few minutes to listen, and finding common ground. That's it. And it didn't take long.


Our connection was tangible. It was real, and we could feel it.


I invite you to look for those same opportunities, regardless of who it is. Do more than just give the normal pleasantries. Give a little extra and strive to connect.


#connection #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #44: Do You Love What You Do? 

Dec 19, 2022 (2 min read)

Do you love what you do?


One of my sons was helping clean bathrooms a little over a week ago, doing his part of the chores in our home. But he did extra that day, cleaning the toilets in all of the bathrooms in our home so none of his siblings had to.


Then, when it snowed, he jumped out to the driveway and shoveled our driveway without being asked. He did the neighbor's as well. And just a few days ago, he swept and mopped the kitchen floor in the middle of the day without being asked.


He's only 6, but he loves cleaning and working and helping - just because.


While cleaning the bathrooms last week, not complaining one bit but enjoying every moment of it, he asked me, "Dad, can I be a janitor when I grow up?"


I got a laugh out of his question as that's not the job most people aspire to have. But it got me thinking. Why would he ask that?


Because he loves what he's doing. He loves to clean, loves to work, and he just loves to help.


And when you love what you do, it changes how you feel and approach the task at hand. While most don't find cleaning a toilet or shoveling snow the ideal chores to be doing, to him it brings great enjoyment and satisfaction because he's doing what he loves to do.


Do you love what you do? It really does make a difference.


#everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter #success #lovewhatyoudo 

Lead Like A Superhero

Dec 12, 2022 (2 min read)

Yesterday at church, I heard a talk about superheroes, start athletes, and rescue-bots. Who knew that could be a topic for a Sunday sermon?


It got me thinking, though, particularly about superheroes.


We love superheroes. We admire them for their unnatural gifts and often impeccable character. But we also know they are flawed - sometimes to a fault.


And one thing almost every Superhero does at some point in their lifetime is to save that one person everyone else has abandoned or left behind. They put themselves at risk to save the one.


And that's what got me thinking. Leadership is simple and complex at the same time. It requires flexibility, adaptation, understanding or empathy, vision, and the ability to inspire others to be better. Leadership often is highlighted at the macro level for dynamic transformations and significant successes, which, don't get me wrong, is completely good and worth acknowledging.


But does leadership only really succeed when it happens at the 1-to-1 level?


We love our superheroes when they save a whole city or the world time and time again, but isn't it when they save the one that really makes them superhero to us? That makes us gravitate to them?


And in our real world every day, not to discount great organizational leaders by any means, but isn't it when we're led individually by that one "hero" that really makes the difference? Isn't that where true leadership really succeeds?


Leadership success happens at the 1-to-1 level. It's the superhero leadership mentality. So try leading like a Superhero today and see what happens.


Woild love to know your thoughts and experiences with leadership success. Is it happening only because of a great organizational leader or is it the 1-to-1 leadership happening within the organization that is making the difference?


#leadership #success #buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

Gratitude

Dec 6, 2022 (2 min read)

I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving Day. My wife and I woke up early and got out in the cold together to do it.


We were supposed to do it last year but not got covid a day or two before the race.


My training had been lacking in preparation for this race, and I told my wife to go run her race and not wait for me. (She's a better and faster runner than me all day long! And that's OK - I don't mind chasing her!)


I hadn't run this race before, and I had plenty of reasons to complain. I was tired. My training and preparation was not adequate. It was cold. And my feet hurt while I ran that morning.


That all changed as the race got under way.


From seeing people dressed up like Pilgrims and turkeys to others in just shorts and tshirts, the mood was light and fun right away. And more than that, the entire race course was lined with signs - signs from race participants that said what they're thankful for. It changed my mindset that morning.


One in particular stood out to me. It asked a question. "Do you take for granted or for gratitude?"


I knew at that moment my mind was and had been in the wrong place. I definitely have taken for granted many things, many situations, and many circumstances that I instead should have an abundance of gratitude for.


So in the season of reflection and change, I'll work to be better at having gratitude more in my heart - at recognizing how blessed I really am.


In what areas of your life can you improve your gratitude?


#gratitude #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #43: Teamwork

Dec 4, 2022 (2 min read)

My word for 2023: RUN.


What many of you don't know is that I have struggled with my weight for years. I can be incredibly disciplined and see enormous success in my fitness and health. Last year I rode a bike 3,770 miles and ran in a couple of 5k races and lost over 50 pounds.


This year has been a massive struggle to stay motivated to maintain good fitness and to get back on my feet after my car accident earlier this year. I've gained a lot of weight back and have let my good habits slowly disappear.


I've returned to a state that doesn't make me feel good about myself or even think positively about myself often enough.


So it's time to turn a permanent corner and not look back.


I've gained and am gaining a better understanding of my relationship with my nutrition thanks to Jody Moore and Katrina Ubell, MD.


I'm not committing to better fitness. I'm making a promise to myself and my fitness, thanks to Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE.


I'm finding ways to do something, even little things, consistently because something is better than nothing. Joy Mcadams regularly teaches me that.


And a whole host of others are encouraging me, inspiring me, and helping me see what I can become - Paul Lemieux, Jr., Brian Buffini, the John Maxwell Team, and so many more.


I have to give those shoutouts because while some of them may not know it, they are driving forces behind my desire to be better. As such, I have planned my 2023 year of fitness and have signed up for 5 races throughout the year. My promise means nothing without action. So here it is. There was no reason to wait to get started.


I look forward to a better me physically as well as in every other aspect of my life as my physical fitness improves.


Start planning your 2023 now. Then start working on it now. You're worth it. I'm worth it.


You can follow my journey on my blog at www.jpandersen.com or at www.buildingyoubetter.com.


Happy New You!


#health #success #buildingyoubetter 

My Word for 2023: RUN

Dec 2, 2022 (3 min read)

My word for 2023: RUN.


What many of you don't know is that I have struggled with my weight for years. I can be incredibly disciplined and see enormous success in my fitness and health. Last year I rode a bike 3,770 miles and ran in a couple of 5k races and lost over 50 pounds.


This year has been a massive struggle to stay motivated to maintain good fitness and to get back on my feet after my car accident earlier this year. I've gained a lot of weight back and have let my good habits slowly disappear.


I've returned to a state that doesn't make me feel good about myself or even think positively about myself often enough.


So it's time to turn a permanent corner and not look back.


I've gained and am gaining a better understanding of my relationship with my nutrition thanks to Jody Moore and Katrina Ubell, MD.


I'm not committing to better fitness. I'm making a promise to myself and my fitness, thanks to Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE.


I'm finding ways to do something, even little things, consistently because something is better than nothing. Joy Mcadams regularly teaches me that.


And a whole host of others are encouraging me, inspiring me, and helping me see what I can become - Paul Lemieux, Jr., Brian Buffini, the John Maxwell Team, and so many more.


I have to give those shoutouts because while some of them may not know it, they are driving forces behind my desire to be better. As such, I have planned my 2023 year of fitness and have signed up for 5 races throughout the year. My promise means nothing without action. So here it is. There was no reason to wait to get started.


I look forward to a better me physically as well as in every other aspect of my life as my physical fitness improves.


Start planning your 2023 now. Then start working on it now. You're worth it. I'm worth it.


You can follow my journey on my blog at www.jpandersen.com or at www.buildingyoubetter.com.


Happy New You!


#health #success #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #42: Persistence

November 28, 2022 (2 min read)

Persistence:


Firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.


Yesterday afternoon, my boys and I went outside together to throw the football around. My 10 year old and 14 year old were running routes against each other while I'd throw to them.


My 10 year old was not having much success again his bigger and taller brother who easily has a 6-foot arm-span and towers over him by about a foot. (Granted, I can't say that every ball I threw to him was considered "catchable" 😁).


After this happened a few times, my 10 year old's frustration began to show. He ran a route again and again missed making the catch. He did it again. Another missed catch. Again. Another miss.


This happened again and again and again. My son probably ran a route 40 or so times, missing the catch every time. His frustration reached its maximum - but he didn't quit. In fact, he didn't say much. He simply ran back to me and set up again. He was determined. He was persistent.


And finally, as the sun went down, he ran up the right side of the yard, gave a fake to his older brother, and broke free deep in the yard. I stepped up and launched it toward him. His older brother, running to catch him, looked back to see the ball coming and reached his long arms up as high as they could, jumping at the last second to extend his reach as far as it could possibly go. And with that, the ball sailed past him and into the hands of my 10 year old. He nailed the catch.


Instantaneously he smiled and started cheering. I ran down the yard screaming with my hands up, picked him up like he just won the championship game, and we all celebrated fantastically.


That catch was the talk of the night for him. And it wouldn't have happened had he not been #persistent - had he not used his frustration to focus himself more to overcome the difficulty that was trying so hard to make him just quit. The reward for him, and for me, was that much sweeter when he overcame his difficulties and succeeded.


The road to success can sometimes, even often, feel like my son felt - there are nothing but failures and difficulties and frustrations all along the path. But those that are persistent, that know what they want and stick with it and use their frustration to focus their effort, will succeed in the end.


Whatever difficulty might be on your path today, stick with it. Keep going. Stay strong and be persistent. Success will come.


#success #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Creative Outlets

November 21, 2022 (2 min read)

I spent yesterday in a number of meetings for church and even work. By the time I was done, I was spent and wanted nothing more than to kick up my feet and be left alone for the night.


As a parent of 7, though, that doesn't happen very often. And my wife, who had already shouldered our family responsibilities mostly alone for the day, was ready for some help getting these guys into bed for a little more quiet in the house.


So after a quick dinner, I helped get our littlest 2 guys into bed, and then my 10 year old asked me if I would build legos with him before he went to bed.... that was last thing I wanted to do, but I hadn't spent much time with him this weekend, so I did.


30 minutes later, it was bed time for him, but I couldn't stop looking for pieces and building. My wife reminded me it was his bed time, and he dutifully cleaned up and got into bed but for 20 more minutes I couldn't stop. I kept looking for that "one piece" and then the next "one piece" (which everyone who has ever played with legos knows that one piece is always just one scoop away in the massive pile of endless mixture of legos).


I finally quit, defeated that I couldn't find that one piece. And I finally went in to say goodnight to my son who was waiting for me, laughing at me the whole time that I couldn't find that one piece. Is my creation beautiful or amazing in any way? Nope. I just started from scratch and built a plane because my son told me we were building an airport and a fleet of planes. But what I felt was unexpected.


After the day of meetings and running from one thing to the next and just feeling tired, in that moment, I felt invigorated and a bit of a surge of energy.


Why?


I had experienced a few minutes of pure creativity with my son, and it was a significant mental break for me yesterday.


Honestly, I never thought creative activities could produce that kind of mental "rest" for me, but I'm thinking I may need to do more activities like this when I'm tired.


I love creativity and opportunities to create in my work and in organizing my home. I love creativity when intentionally having fun with my kids by making up games to play or writing silly rhymes or songs with them. I love creativity in arranging and writing music occasionally. And I love creativity in processing thoughts and ideas that turn into content for me to share.


But I've never considered creative activities and creative work as a mental release before in the way it made me feel last night.


What kind of creative activities do you engage in, and do you use these activities as a mental release or for other purposes?


#creativity #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Everyday Leadership #41: Providing Value

November 16, 2022 (3 min read)

What does providing value really look like?


My car broke down in the mountains driving home from California last week.


I had been gone a week with my daughter on a marching band trip and was finally on my way home after a long day at Disneyland. It had rained for 2 days straight. The kids were all on the busses, and I was loaded up in my car - wet and tired - and took off.


After getting through some traffic and climbing up a small mountain pass outside the city, my car started beeping at me. The check engine light was one - but it wasn't just on. It was flashing at me.


I pulled off at the next closest exit a few miles up the road. 2 gas stations, a McDonald's, a Subway and a no-name motel were the only things there.


A quick car manual check and Google search told me continuing to drive could cause catastrophic engine damage.


Wonderful news. 🙄


It was late that night. No auto shops or parts stores or anyone that could help me were open or around. I booked a room for the night and waited it out.


The next morning, I called my auto mechanic back home, Garrin's Automotive, and explained what was happening. They jumped into action right away. They told me what to try and what to do, and they explained what the likely problem was.


I was able to get into a city nearby. I had a dealer check my car out but they quoted me over $2,000 to do the repairs and couldn't start for about 2 days. That wasn't an option.


Garrin's had my back. They called me back after walking through the repairs and determining exactly where in the engine the problem likely was. Based on our relationship and knowing I had some tools with me, they told me I could likely do the repairs myself and walked me through them.


After getting the parts nearby, I made the repairs myself. It took me 20 minutes and cost me $66. Garrin's cost themselves far more than that diagnosing the issue over the phone and then coaching me through the repairs. And they even checked on me later to make sure I was on my way and that the car was working well again. And they didn't charge me a dime for their time.


They put me ahead of profit and are an outstanding example what providing value looks like. They've solidified themselves as a service provider I trust, will recommend and will return to time and time again. A huge thank you and shout out to Garrin's and their team for impeccable service to me and my family, even from a distance.


What are you doing to provide value to others?


#addingvalue #buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

What Success Looks Like

November 14, 2022 (3 min read)

I've spent the last few months watching my daughter and her marching band compete almost every weekend since September.


This last weekend they had their last 2 competitions of the season, back to back. Friday was state championships and Saturday was Bands of America. (BOA), which is essentially a large, regional competition of multiple states.


Her band took 2nd in state and 4th overall out of all the bands that competed on Saturday in BOA - 4th out of bands from Utah, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California. Honestly, it was AMAZING to witness and be a part of!


Success like that, though, with a school that is only 4 years old doesn't just happen. If you've ever been in or watched marching band, success at that level only comes when a huge mixture of things come together the right way at the right time.


Every person has to know where to march and hit their spots exactly right.


Every person must know their music and play it perfectly while blending with those around them.


Each drum major has to know the music inside and out and stay in sync with each other in order to lead the band from several different spots on the field.


The band and drumline have to be in sync together throughout the show.


The visuals from colorguard have to be in sync and on time.


The teachers have to lead their sections individually really well so the band collectively can perform well.


The band director must constantly teach and coach and then ultimately trust them to perform as he or she can't do anything more to help them once it's showtime.


And in this case, even a little luck has to fall your way... in our case, the weather had to cooperate so they could do their flyover (the huge flag pulled over the band in the video). Any breeze at all and that marquee moment in the show wasn't possible.


And with all that, no matter how well or good one individual does, the band only wins as a single unit. And on Saturday, this band did just that. Under the direction of a great leader, all these pieces and so many more came together in the ultimate culmination of success.


That's what success looks like individually and organizationally. Every person knows their role and performs it at an extremely high level for a common goal - a shared vision painted beautifully by their leader who trusts them to perform when it's time.


Success couldn't be painted more beautifully than that. Thank you, Cedar Valley Bands, for teaching me that!


#success #buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

Be So Good That...

November 7, 2022 (3 min read)

Just recently, my daughter's high school was incorrectly identified on social media and labeled as a racist school due to the actions of some teenagers a few hundred miles away. The backlash has been enormous and the school and the students have been targeted heavily this week because of it.


The response to clear up the mistaken identification has been slow and challenging. It's made many feel unsafe and worried because of the attention this has captured (even outside our state).


But in the midst of this, I heard the band director teaching his students, my daughter included, a great lesson. He told them the school was at the center of attention right now for the public and that everyone was watching what we do. Perception is reality.


The band is traveling for competitions this weekend and is in a major spotlight because of these recent events, and appropriately so, he's concerned about perceptions and safety of his students. And in his discussion with them, he said, "Be so good they can't find any way to complain about you."


I loved that powerful lesson in such a few words.


It's a powerful approach to life - Be so good that _________ - you can fill in the blank.


Be so good they can't ignore you for that promotion.


Be so good they can't find a reason to complain about you.


Be so good that they have to and want to support you.


Be so good that everyone around you gets better, too.


Being so good at something takes intention and effort. But when you're so good at that thing, it's amazing what perceptions and understanding others gain of you in their experience. So today, take a minute and think on what you're doing. Are you doing your absolute best with it? Are you doing it so well that ________?


What can you be so good at today?


#besogood #everydayleadership #buildingyoubetter 

Throw Some Punches Back

October 28, 2022 (2 min read)

"Life is going to beat you up. It wouldn't be fair if you didn't throw some punches back at it." -Bradley Bowman


The last 6 months have definitely felt like life is beating us up a little:


👉Car 1 transmission leak... attempted repairs didn't work; still leaking

👉Car 2 accident; car totaled...car 1 repairs on hold

👉Back injury from accident

👉Backyard flooding from neighbors yard

👉New used car bought...ac blower and other parts failed

👉New used car transmission failed; no warranty

👉2 ER visits with 2 of my sons on the same day in different locations for head injuries

👉1 year old personal laptop failed and won't restart

👉Pay raise request denied

👉Drama with our teenagers

👉New used car NEW transmission failed and replaced

👉New used car alternator failed

👉A different son broke his wrist

👉Wife cut her hand and a nerve in her finger; ER visit

👉Wife now needs surgery to repair the nerve in her hand


I share this not to draw sympathy to me and my family but to hopefully help others feel you're not alone. Life is tough sometimes. But, more importantly, this is to encourage everyone - especially me - to throw a few punches back at life.


Because of this and after some time and preparation over the last year-plus, I am punching back and launching my own speaking, coaching and training business:


Cornerstone Leadership, LLC


If you're interested in coaching services or need a speaker for an event, please reach out. From my experience over the last 18 years in facility management and raising a family of 7 kids, I'll share and help you navigate whatever life throws your way by developing your self-leadership and growth opportunities and by helping you, your youth, and your organizations find ways to build you better. You can visit my website (a work in progress but online and available!) and schedule time with me here:


www.jpandersen.com or at www.buildingyoubetter.com


I look forward to working with you and to building you better!


#buildingyoubetter #everydayleadership 

Negative Emotions

October 19, 2022 (2 min read)

Negative emotions are OK to feel and have, BUT...


Letting negative emotions persist interrupts our daily activities, affects our health and can take over our minds. It's OK to allow time to just be in our emotions and to experience them. In fact, emotions help us realize what matters to us. They help us recognize what we value. It's important, though, that we learn to process them - and eventually learn to use them for our good.


Use your emotions to produce positive outcomes instead of letting negativity rule the day. It's not easy to do this, and honestly, this post is more for me than anyone else, but it's important that our negative emotions serve a purpose... that they have somewhere to go.


Turn your Anger into Action...your Despair into Determination...your Frustration into Focus.


When you do, I think you'll find your ability to experience and process negative emotions can actually be a very positive experience and opportunity for you.


What do you do to process your negative emotions, and how do you use them to produce positive outcomes for yourself?


#emotionalwellness #opportunity #success

#buildingyoubetter

#everydayleadership 

Small Wins Matter

October 12, 2022 (2 min read)

A win is a win, no matter how small.


Success doesn't happen overnight. It's a combination of small wins, failures both big and small, lessons learned, and consistent effort to keep going forward.


It's the small wins that build momentum over time.


For me yesterday, my small win and maybe my only win was that I called our insurance provider to get some clarification on our policy as it relates to some things I'm working on. It took 5, maybe 10 minutes of my day. It wasn't anything big at all and wasn't very hard to do. But it was a win!


For you, it might be as simple as waking up on time or doing the dishes today. It might be answering that one email that's been bugging you for days. It might be doing a single pushup today so that you've exercised or it might be that you read a single paragraph of a book instead of watching tv right before bed. Every and any one of these might be a win for you today, regardless how small or insignificant you may think they are.


Just know a win is a win, no matter how small. So be sure to recognize and count them all.


So today, pick just one thing you've been wanting or needing to do. Plan the time to get it done, and then do it. Then, once it's done, recognize your accomplishment, write it down and celebrate your win! You'll be amazed when you look back at the last week, month and year how much you've won and accomplished.


#success #smallwins 

Everyday Leadership #40: Modeling

October 11, 2022 (3 min read)

I told them they had to do their chores before they could play the xbox.


As usual, Saturday morning started just like any other. They were up but thrilled not to have to get ready for school. They were hanging out in their pjs with the TV on, each sporadically taking a turn to get themselves breakfast. My kids only get to watch TV on Saturdays and often only get to play their xbox then as well. My wife and I were going to be busy running several of the kids around for their activities that day while also getting ready to celebrate one of our kid's birthdays. So the kids were excited at the chance to play xbox maybe a little longer than usual.


And as usual, I told them they had to get their chores done before they could play... get dressed and ready for the day, make their beds, and clean their bathrooms. Nothing too demanding.


My kids sprung into action, motivated to play the xbox. The teamed up, made a plan together, and helped each other get everything done.... or so they thought.


After about 30 minutes, they said they were done and ready to play. It only took a minute to discover only 1 bathroom had been cleaned. They thought as long as they got one done they were good to go. Nope! :)


I told them they were awesome for what they'd done but had to finish the whole job and had another bathroom to do.


Pouting ensued.


I encouraged them to work together again and tried to motivate them by reminding them how quickly it could done working together as a team like they had already.


And as I said that, my 4-year old pipes up and says nice and loud and with a smile on his face, "Teamwork makes the dream work!"... something I've said a few times.


The job got done, they got to pay the xbox not not too much later. That moment got me thinking, though.


What kind of things am I modeling? My kids are obviously watching and listening to my what I say and do. My teams are, too. So am I modeling what I want to see in my "reflection"?


As a parent or a leader or an individual of influence, people are watching what you say and do. It's important then that you model the language and behaviors you want to see because your people - your children or your teams - will reflect what they see.


https://lnkd.in/gZPKkKTe


#modeling #leadership 

Is There a Difference? Environment vs Culture

October 7, 2022 (2 min read)

Is there a difference?


A great environment or a great culture - are they the same thing? I don't think so.


An environment is created in the physical space. It's built and affected by lighting, furnishings, finishes and spacing. It creates an atmosphere that can stimulate different experiences... fun, focus, relaxation, etc.


Culture is part of the workplace experience but it's more than that. Culture is really driven by attitudes, beliefs, and behavior. It's how people act in tough times and how they work together to problem solve. It's the way people treat each other every day and how they approach their work. It's built by leaders with vision who model keystone behaviors as much as it's built by leaders who don't. Culture is built whether a leader wants it to and plans for it or not and is built regardless of the environment (although environment can influence and enhance a culture).


The environment often requires a more substantial investment of resources to build and maintain than culture does but doesn't often produce the same ROI as culture does.


So important as it is to find a place to work with a great environment, focus on finding a great culture. The ROI for the company and for you will be much greater than just making sure you get to play air hockey on your breaks with your colleagues.


#culture #experience #environment #leadership 

Do You Have Grit? 

October 3, 2022 (2 min read)

Last weekend, my son who recently started wrestling, had his first tournament. What we didn't know was that he wrestled with a broken and slightly displaced left wrist.


A couple days before the tournament, his younger brother accidentally kicked his hand and wrist playing soccer while he went to block a ball at the goal. He complained about his wrist, but he didn't show any signs that anything was wrong. He didn't bruise, there wasn't any swelling, he could rotate his wrist and use it fairly normally. We figured he maybe sprained it or bruised it badly. (I guess there's a reason I'm not a doctor!)


Fast forward a couple of days after his tournament to practice. He is hurting noticeably after a specific exercise so we took him in to get it looked at only to find that it was, in fact, broken and slightly displaced. I couldn't believe it.


But even more than that was the fact that he demonstrated incredible courage and grit to go out there and wrestle anyway. He didn't want to give up the chance and didn't hold back while wrestling either.


He set his mind to the task and reset his focus on what he wanted, allowing himself to overcome the temporary pain for something bigger to him. He didn't quit.


It would have been easy to walk away - to quit - in the moment. We gave him every opportunity to do so before and during the tournament and even the following week with practice. But his grit kept him going. His determination and resolve to push himself rose above the pain and showed me what it means to have true grit.


I can't quit when things get tough or it hurts momentarily if he can wrestle with a broken wrist. My heart aches for him that we didn't realize how serious his pain was, but I stand in awe of him for his character and grit through it all and look to him as an example to follow next time I think it's tough and want to quit.


Do you have grit?


#grit #success #mindset 

Creating the Right Environment Culture

September 29, 2022 (2 min read)

One of my sons started wrestling this year. It's his first time doing it. That's my son there in the blue tshirt.


2 nights a week, he goes to the high school and practices with all the kids in the community from 5 years old up through seniors in high school. The high school coaches and high school team teach them and coach them. It's a fun environment to be in and learn in. All the boys and girls are locked in and work hard every practice. They're engaged, they're attentive, and they do what they're coaches say. They are motivated to get better.


How do they get all of these 30 to 40 kids every week to lock in like that?


At the start of practice as they warmup and then stretch, each coach walks around and shakes every kids' hand, says their name and welcomes them to practice. They check-in with each one and usually ask a specific question about each kid - about their wrestling, about their family, or something personal to them.


These coaches create an environment culture of trust and learning through that one simple task.... and they're consistent with it.


Environment is definitely influenced by your physical surroundings, but what you DO has a bigger influence on the environment you CREATE with your teams...it's really creating a CULTURE. 


So focus on CREATING the environment culture you want and need for your teams. The outcomes you want may be just a question and handshake away.


#environment #team #learning #successstrategies 

Empowering Your People

September 28, 2022 (3 min read)

We hear a lot about empowering employees. And we hear a lot that it isn't happening and yet also hear that where organizations truly invest in this practice, they are thriving at levels they never thought possible.

 

So what does empowering employees actually look like? How do you do it in your organization? What are the red flags that prevent you from empowering your people?

 

John Maxwell said, "A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others."

 

Often, what we call leading and empowering others is confused with managing the work. Being task-driven, being involved in the details of your teams' work, having short-term vision, and focusing on individual efforts are just some of the signs that maybe you're not empowering your people enough or the right way.

 

How do you know if that's what you're doing? Take a look at your organization and see if you're getting the results you want. Is your team engaged in the work? Are they creatively approaching solutions? Is your turnover low? Is your bottom line growing as expected?

 

If the answer to these questions is no, then it might be time to change your approach.

 

To empower employees and teams, you need to give them 3 essential things:

 

-Responsibility

-Authority

-Accountability

 

Responsibility is giving them control of the process. It removes you from the details of how things get done and gives space for creativity and teamwork to thrive.

 

Authority is giving them the right to make decisions. Once they have set parameters or boundaries, give them the right to figure out how to get there.

 

Accountability is giving them control of the outcomes. Once they have clear expectations from you, give them ownership of the results - credit for achieving and opportunities to learn from failing.

 

And the fuel that makes these 3 things work together is RESOURCES. If you don't give them what they need (ie mentors, training, tools, and time), then you're really not empowering them to succeed.

 

If you want to know what the benefits are from empowering your people, take a look at this resource and let me know what benefits you've seen from truly empowering your people.

 

#empoweringothers #responsibility #accountability #authority #success


Everyday Leadership #39: Learn How to Lose

September 21, 2022 (3 min read)

I went 10 for 11 in the fourth quarter.

 

We were tied for first place in the district and had a head-to-head play-in game to see which team would advance to the next round. I was in 8th grade and playing on my middle school basketball team. We were playing our main rival and anxious to win.

 

It was a close game all the way through. The difference was we had multiple chances to take the lead and secure the win. We, or said better, I just didn't capitalize on the opportunity. I missed 10 of 11 free throws through the end of the 4th quarter that would have secured the win for us but instead led us to a competitive overtime where we lost.

 

The misses got to me. I was frustrated and unfocused, and the other team knew it. Loss was inevitable. It was one of the worst games of my life.

 

Fast forward a few years... we were down by 2 with 3 seconds left. It was our ball to inbound under our basket. We ran a play, and my teammate made a perfect pass to me cutting under the basket. I made the shot with 1 second on the clock and got fouled on the play. Tie game now. All I had to do was make the free throw and we would win. I had had the game of my life at that point. I just had to make 1free throw, and the game would be ours.

 

I missed. Overtime.

 

Just a few minutes later after focused and motivated play by my team, we won. I scored all 8 points in overtime, finishing the game with 40 points - my personal best game ever.

 

The difference was I learned how to lose.

 

I didn't learn ways to lose or to lose on purpose. That's not what I mean. I mean I learned what loss can teach me.

 

I learned that loss is a learning opportunity, if we're willing to look at it that way. I learned loss can be used as a motivation to improve my future self. I learned than when I separate emotion and turn on the analytical part of brain, I can find specific areas where I can improve - from my mindset to my technique to a specific skill - all of these things can teach me to be better next time. Loss can give me roadmap for where I want to go.

 

While I hate losing, John Maxwell I think taught the best approach to losing when he said, "Sometimes you win. Sometimes you Learn."

 

My challenge to you is to learn how to lose better today, and make losing your teacher.

 

#learn #success #opportunity #mindset

Everyday Leadership #38: Fit Matters

September 12, 2022 (3 min read)

Fit matters - a lot.


I love college football, and over the weekend big things happened at the 2 schools I love.


Nebraska, who I grew up watching win several national championships and never have a losing season, just lost to an unranked lower division team. Statistically, it was one of the worst performances by the defense ever, and that game was representative of the team the last 4 years. With a record of 16 wins and 31 losses over the last 4 years, Coach Scot Frost was fired.


BYU, where I went to school, finished last season in the top 25. And on Saturday night, their performance and growth showed out once again as they beat #9 Baylor in double overtime. They have a winning record each of the last couple of years and continue to show signs of improvement week over week, year over year.


Nebraska's Coach Frost appeared to be the text book best guy for the program when hired in 2018. A former Nebraska quarterback, he won them a national championship as a player and had major success at 2 other schools in coaching roles. He appeared to be the storybook hero to help the school win again after a tough few years for the school.


BYU hired Kalani Sitake in 2015. He wasn't a household name or on the radar nationally as a promising future head coach for any major program. He wasn't the hire that inspired a lot of people about BYU's future.


What's the difference between these 2 teams?


FIT.


Both coaches are loved. Both are respected, but if you think fit doesn't matter, just take a look at the cost of hiring the wrong fit ($15 million for Nebraska). Fit matters a LOT.


And when you realize a person isn't the right fit, you have to be willing to make the tough but right decision to let them go and move on. It's usually best for everyone.


Fit matters. Do your best to hire right.


#fitmatters #success 

Resilience

September 8, 2022 (2 min read)

Resilience - the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.


During my trip to the Philippines a few weeks back, I was again reminded of just how resilient the Philippines' people are. In any given year they will experience monsoonal flooding, earthquakes (a 7.0 just struck a few weeks ago), volcanic eruptions, occasional tsunamis of varying size, and on average, they experience about 20 typhoons a year - 20!


It's amazing they rebuild so often and haven't collapsed yet as a country from such frequent natural disasters. While I was there, I learned this resiliency isn't something new. The Philippines' people have regularly shown resiliency in the face of difficulty. The picture today shows Manila after World War II. In the forefront of the picture is a church with its main structural walls still standing while all around it the majority of the city was destroyed from bombings.


I learned that this particular church, a prominent symbol of their religious history, was originally built around 1581 and has been destroyed and rebuilt 8 different times!!


And that hit home with me. Their resilience is second to none. It's inspiring and awesome to witness.


It's easy to give up when things get tough. It takes very little effort to stay down when the world knocks you down.


But quitting on those moments won't make things easier in the long run. So take a lesson from the Philippines and exercise some resilience. The more you do, the stronger your resilience will become.


#resilience #dontquit #success 

Everyday Leadership #37: Toothpaste - Getting Your All Out of It

September 6, 2022 (2 min read)

How many times do you get to the end of a tube of toothpaste all too quickly and think there should have been more in there?


My wife and I have an unofficial competition to see who can legitimately get the last squeeze of toothpaste out of the tube. And honestly, even when they tube looks like it's completely flat and void of any possible toothpaste, we find more. We squeeze, we flatten, we roll, and we press it like it's dough until every last drop is out of the tube. This can easily go on for a few days past what any normal person might do when that close to the end of the tube.


You're probably asking why waste our time doing that. Well, we either like the silly game - or, resources. There's more there than what meets the eye and with a little effort, we can fully get what we paid for and get more out of it than most think is possible.


And so it is with our people. We're not going to physically squeeze and roll them to get what we want out of them. But, we can put in the extra effort and realize that often times there's more there than meets the eye... that their potential reaches far beyond what their apparent maximum seems to be. All they need is a little extra effort to produce it.


So, before you throw that tube of toothpaste away when you think it's done, try a little more and see how much more you get from it because you tried.


#effort #tryalittlemore #success 

Everyday Leadership #36: A Champion's Mindset

September 2, 2022 (3 min read)

Wakeup call is at 5:30am for these two - by choice - more than 2 hours before they leave for school. We can barely see the ball or the hoop because there aren't any lights out there.


They've asked me to coach them in basketball because they both have clear goals this year. My 10 year old wants to get back to the championship game next year and win. My 13 year old is set on making his school team.


They run distance for endurance. They do sprints for speed and agility. They practice the basics doing layups, passing drills, defensive positioning, and shooting 3 mornings every week. The other 2 days are spent doing pushups and crunches to build core strength.


For every missed layup they do a couple of pushups. For every dropped pass they do the same. And by choice, my 13 year old does 10 pushups for any airball he shoots. And at the end of practice, we play the 2 of them against me. It's fiercely competitive because all 3 of us want to win.


The rules on the court include:


🏀 You put in 100% effort

🏀 We do not criticize each other no matter what... only encouragement is allowed

🏀 We own our mistakes

🏀 No excuses or complaints

🏀 Use your frustration to focus your effort more

🏀 "Yes, Coach" is the response when getting coached or asked to do a drill


This is the Champion's Mindset. It's a simple formula:


A willingness to sacrifice what is easy for what you want + put in the work


This is what separates the great from the rest. This mindset is foundational to signifant success. My boys are exhibiting and learning great habits right now that will set them up for life and setting a great example for all their siblings and me. And in the end, I think they'll see and say it was worth it, especially because they chose it.


So today, choose to be a champion. It's worth it.


#champion #success #mindset #successprinciples 

Everyday Leadership #35: Everyone Wants to be Led Well

August 30, 2022 (3 min read)

A Peruvian. 2 old ladies. 1 middle-aged man with tatoos everywhere. 1 young man with a permanent disability. 2 teenage young men from Mexico.... and me.

 

Yesterday, the train back home had a significant delay. We aren't really sure why. We had to get off the train because it was bring reversed to go back north instead of south, and everyone going south were instructed to take 2 other trains to a different station to catch another train back south again.

 

The problem was the instructions were confusing and poorly communicated over the intercom system. So, as I got off the train, I saw the conductor with his window open. So I asked him for some details and clarification, and I got it.

 

A few minutes later, the young working student from Peru asked me in Spanish if I knew where to go. In my broken Spanish, I explained what we needed to do. He asked if he could follow me since we were going the same way. I said yes.

 

And as I said that, the 2 old ladies asked me for some direction on what they were supposed to do since they didn't hear everything. I told them as well, and a second later, they were following me. I even helped one of them carry her luggage to make her trip to visit her grandchildren easier.

 

A minute later, the 2 teenage young men saw me walking with a little group and asked me for some directions... and then they asked if they could just follow me. And then the young man with the permanent disability did the same, and then the man with tattoos.

 

And just like that, 5 minutes after getting off our train and being redirected to 3 different trains and different stations, I had a little group of people following me and chatting and introducing themselves to each other and getting to know each others' stories on our multiple train rides. It was a very long ride back home (it added more than an hour to my commute home) but quite delightful with this group of new acquaintances in our frustrating situation.

 

Why did they follow me?

 

Because I provided them with value they needed in their time of need.

 

Leadership is just that simple. This isn't meant to be a brag on me in any way but simply meant to demonstrate that everyone wants to be led well, and they'll willingly follow good leadership. And it's the leader's job to make sure they do that. And that's done by adding value to their people in their time of need.

 

#addingvalue #leadwell #success

Everyday Leadership #34: Choose Success

August 29, 2022 (2 min read)

**SPOILER ALERT!**

 

You don't have to watch the full 5 minute video... it ends the same way it starts. And I only started the video half way through the drive. 😅

 

After church yesterday, my kids begged me to take the dirt road home. Why?

 

Because it's so bumpy that they can do this the whole way home and make their voices shake just like the car. This is life in our house.

 

You might be asking, what's the lesson in that?

 

First, I need to get away and get some quiet every once in a while!

 

And second, life is what you make of it. You want fun? Choose to make it fun. You want excitement? Choose to make it exciting. You want success? Choose to make yourself successful.

 

Every day in life is a choice. I could get away for some quiet if I wanted to... or I could join them and enjoy the dirt road bumps just as much as them.

 

#enjoytheride #choosehappiness #success

Goals vs. Growth Plans

August 26, 2022 (2 min read)

Last week I posted about my experience in the Philippines. I wrote about intentional growth.

 

The obvious question that many have is, what's a growth plan and how is it different than having goals?

 

Great question!

 

The short answer - a goal is a destination. A growth plan is a continuing journey. Growth focuses on acquiring skills and knowledge and identifies strategies that help in attaining long-term results. Both are valuable, and often times, you'll find your growth plan is made up of a series of smaller but progressive goals over time. If you have to choose, though, choose growth not just goals.


Click here to see some examples of the differences between a goal and a growth plan. 

 

#growth #successprinciples #leadershipdevelopment

Everyday Leadership #33: Be the Good

August 24, 2022 (2 min read)

They heard an explosion and within 30 minutes this family lost everything.

 

It only took 30 minutes for the fire and flood of water required to extinguish the flames to destroy everything. Having just recently moved in with 2 young boys that just started school, it was tough to witness how fast their lives changed. I can only imagine what they are feeling and experiencing.

 

But in the midst of this life-changing moment, our community stepped up and stepped in. Blankets, clothing, volunteer shoppers to replace what was lost, rooms to sleep in, meals, and a go fund me campaign were all arranged as quickly as the fire engulfed their home.

 

It has been amazing to witness the good in the community around me when the world we live in focuses on so much negativity. It reminded me that if we really want to see the good in the world around us, all we have to do is look for it.

 

Like the young man I witnessed yesterday afternoon that stood up to give up his seat to the elderly woman who entered the train station, it's easy to find the good in the world around you. You just have to look for it.

 

But if you really want to see the good, don't look for it. Be the good in the world you're in today.

 

#bethegood #successprinciples

Manilla Grass

August 17, 2022 (2 min read)

It started with just 2 square meters.

 

They call it Manilla grass. The U.S. National Cemetery in Manilla in the Philippines is a memorial to fallen soldiers from World War II. And I learned while visiting the site that when it was originally constructed, the Cemetery used plants from all over the Pacific region to represent the diversity and complexity of the battles throughout the region. One of those was a grass. They imported just 2 square meters of this grass. They didn't seed the area or sod any of the area.

 

The choice was instead made to nurture and care for the grass so that it would grow... so that it would eventually cover the more than 150 acres of reverenced land where more than 17,000 would call their final resting place on this earth and over 36,000 more would be remembered because they were never found.

 

Think about that.... from just 2 square meters they were able to seed and grow over 150 acres - about 610,000 square meters - of beautiful green grass.

 

That growth was intentional, deliberate, and planned growth. It took time, attention to detail, and a lot of care, and today it stands as an incredible testimony the the power of intentional growth.

 

We can do the same with ourselves. We are filled with the unlimited potential to grow to something grand and beautiful, just like Manilla grass. We simply need to follow the same pattern and be intentional, deliberate, and have a plan to grow so that we can.

 

So be like Manilla grass today and going forward. What are your plans to grow?

 

#growth #successprinciples

Philippines Kindness

August 15, 2022 (1 min read)

I spent last week in the Philippines with our leadership team there.

 

It was an incredible week and a new cultural experience for me in which I have so many insights and lessons-learned to share. But first, I want to give a great shout out to the team there and for their excellent work, their incredible dedication to their work and each other, and to their leadership.

 

It is rare to experience the kind of environment that functions at a high level with such strong interpersonal relationships with one another. Their leaders definitely love and live leadership daily, and it's evident in their teams.

 

And of all the lessons I learned, I cannot speak fondly enough of the kindness of the Philippine people. They set the standard for what kindness is and how it should be lived and shown every day. From the moment we arrived to playing basketball with so many employees together to the last day, even as I fell ill, their kindness may be the best in the world.... from the airport crews to the hotel staff to our own facilities team, their kindness and respect for everyone should be how we all live daily.

 

Thank you, Tomasito Zapanta and team and the Philippines 🇵🇭 for such a wonderful experience!

 

#team #leadership #thankyou #kindness

Get It Right

July 14, 2022 (3 min read)

I planted my foot hard to give a good fake to the defenders. And as I simultaneously started to turn my body away from the basket to let my team set up, my ankle hit the floor and my body collapsed.

 

Ankles aren't designed to bend over 90 degrees, but mine did that day playing basketball. I had an avulsion fracture and had torn the tendons in my ankle and right leg and could barely let someone touch it to help me out of the gym because it hurt so badly. I was in a walking boot for several months after that during my junior year of high school.

 

Fast forward several years and all of the sudden, I experienced shooting pain up my right leg and couldn't walk on my ankle. This would begin to happen frequently without warning and for no apparent reason. I even began to roll my ankle so easily that I couldn't walk down a flat street without randomly falling over because my ankle would just give out.

 

It was frustrating and painful. So I began seeking medical attention. I visited with a sports injury specialist first. I had xrays done and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. That didn't make sense to me, so I saw an orthopedic surgeon, who concurred with the first diagnosis. It still didn't make sense to me. Neither doctor spent more than 5 minutes with me nor looked at my ankle at all and only spent if 1 minute looking at my xrays.

 

I finally saw a regular urgent care doctor because my pain had increased significantly. Within the same 5 minutes I had spent with the previous doctors, he looked at my xrays and found a piece of bone fragment floating around in my ankle. He quickly learned about my injury from years earlier and was the only doctor who looked at my ankle itself and learned my tendons were not in tact. He immediately recommended a podiatry specialist, and 2 months later I had a restorative ankle surgery and my issues were gone.

 

It wasn't until years later that I realized the value of how important it is to get the right person working in the right job. The podiatrist was excellent and absolutely the right person to see, but what made all this work was actually the regular doctor I saw who knew what to do, even though it wasn't his specialty. He performed his skill at a high level and was prepared with a recommendation for who to see that could definitively resolve my problem. That regular doctor was worth more than all the others combined because he was the right person doing the right job.

 

There's nothing better in an organization than hiring the right person. Skills can be trained, but the right person - the right fit and the right attitude - makes all the difference. So it's important to get it right.

 

#getitright #hiringtherightperson #successprinciples

Everyday Leadership #32: Choose Happiness  

July 29, 2022 (1 min read)

"Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you ice cream. And ice cream makes me happy."

 

That's what my oldest daughter told me yesterday. I love ice cream, too, so I can't disagree!

 

What struck me from her comment was that she knows what makes her happy. She's actually very clear on what makes her happy.... music, photography, and ice cream.

 

It got me thinking if we all know what really makes us happy. And even more than that, do we take the time to indulge in those things that bring us joy? While I love a great thunderstorm or hiking in the mountains, it would be unreasonable for me to do that all day long every day. But, I do need to take the time to engage with those activities.

 

Why?

 

Because I work to live, not the other way around. Jim Rohn said, "Happiness is not by chance, but by choice."

 

So choose to do something today that makes you happy simply because you can - because you do have a choice.

 

#choosehappiness #happiness #successprinciples

Choose Positivity

July 14, 2022 (1 min read)

Choose positivity.

 

Recently, one of the national parks was vandalized heavily. Within just a few hours of getting the report, staff were on-site cleaning up the mess and restoring the area to better-than-before condition.

 

The park could have posted pictures of the vandalism. They could have focused on how bad it was and sought public reprimand of the people who do it. Instead, though, they chose positivity.

 

They responded - they didn't react - and opted to highlight the great work of their team. What a great approach to dealing with difficult situations.

 

So choose positivity when you have the choice... we always have a choice.

 

#choosepositivity #livebetter

Anchor or Sail?

July 14, 2022 (2 min read)

Are you an anchor or a sail?

 

As a teenager, I loved getting out on the water. I got my sailing license one summer and spent a lot of time on the Chesapeake Bay learning how to sail a couple of different small boats. It was an amazing feeling to let out the sails and get those boats cruising across the water and getting it up on its side while hiking out over the edge.

 

Part of my licensing was learning the function of each part of the boat. And with most sailboats, they have an anchor and at least 2 sails. And each has a specific and obvious purpose.

 

The anchor is meant to keep the boat from moving... or, in some cases, when the water is too deep for it to hit the water's floor, to slow and stabilize the boat in rough waters.

 

The sails are meant to help the boat move... to help it get from one point to another... to let it fly across the water in the right conditions and when trimmed correctly.

 

Both have their purpose, but the boat is useless if it just sits at anchor all the time. The captain must lift the anchor in order to let the boat move forward. And the captain must trim the sails correctly to maximize its speed and direction.

 

So it is with leaders. Are you going to be an anchor or a sail? Are going to hold yourself or your teams or your children back from moving forward because you won't lift the anchor? Or are you going to let out the sails and trim them so they can fly?

 

While there is a time and a place to use the anchor, the boat cannot achieve its designed purpose unless you lift the anchor and let it sail. Choose to sail.

 

#sail #letthemfly #leaders

Never Stop Growing

July 11, 2022 (2 min read)

"Never!"

 

That was my son's response when I told him to stop growing.

 

He's only 6 years old but growing fast. He's tall, he has a killer smile, and his work ethic surpasses that of just about everyone I know. If there's a job to do, he's the first one volunteering to do it and the last one working on it.

 

And just recently, as he's moved up in clothing size, I looked at him and it just hit me how fast he's growing. So, jokingly I told him to stop growing, and his response was epic with one hand raised in the air..."Never!"

 

And with that, he smiled, turned and ran off.

 

In that moment, I realized his attitude was right on.

 

Never. Stop. Growing.

 

Life is better when you're growing because that means you're living.

 

So - Keep learning. Keep stretching. Keep challenging yourself. Keep moving. Keep looking forward. Keep pushing. Keep growing. If you aren't growing, you're dying.

 

#neverstopgrowing #work #learning #leadership

Everyday Leadership #31: Challenge Changes You  

July 05, 2022 (2 min read)

My physical therapy is TOUGH. Since my car accident a couple months back, I've been doing physical therapy twice a week to rehab my back injury.

 

Every week, we add repetitions and new exercises designed to strengthen my core and my back. And every week, the longer the routine gets, the tougher it gets... and the bigger the feeling gets to just quit or do it half-heartedly. But, out in front of me while I work out is a quote by Fred Devito that reads:

 

"If it doesn't challenge you it won't change you."

 

That quote keeps me going. Just like my boys last week that pushed way beyond their limits on our hike up the mountain, I can push further than I feel and think I have capacity to. It takes some focus and mental strength to do that.

 

I by no means am a superman when it comes to mental fortitude, but I'm learning every day how to be stronger. I listen to podcasts that uplift me and teach me. I read books that do the same. I am trying to change my vocabulary with myself and asking myself better questions. I'm trying to focus on my health and getting enough rest daily, which is a tough one for me. I'm challenging myself to see where my limits are and how to surpass them. And I'm trying to reflect more to learn from my own experiences and from those around me that have been there before.

 

Mental strength is just like physical strength. It requires focused effort and exercise to develop and maintain. This experience has definitely tested mine and is helping it grow.

 

What do you do to strengthen your mental capacity?

 

#learnandgrow #mentalstrength #personaldevelopment

Everyday Leadership #30: Borrowing Motivation  

June 27, 2022 (3 min read)

Sometimes it takes someone else's motivation to push you past your limits.

 

This last week, I went camping for 4 days with several young men. We had a variety of activities planned for the week to teach skills and to test our limits and learn about ourselves.

 

On Thursday, we did a hike up to a lake. It was about 9.6 miles out and back. The challenge was that it climbed almost 3,000 feet on the 4.8 miles out to the lake, and the trail was not smooth. It was covered in loose rocks, small boulders, and tree roots and had several downed trees and water runoff from the creek the trail followed. It made several stretches of trail muddy and difficult to pass.

 

About half way up, some of the boys in my group took a break and decided they were done. The climb was too difficult and exhausting, and they had lost their enthusiasm in the effort. My son was in this group, and what surprised me was his attitude.

 

We all took the break together, but my son started encouraging the boys. He talked about how awesome it would be to get to the top and see the lake. He, with one other young man, got our group back on their feet and moving upward. In fact, for the next couple of hours he and this other young man kept finding positive things to say and found ways around every obstacle on our path. They kept our group moving at every break, one step at a time, one ascending foot at a time.

 

By the time we reached the top of the ridge about 1 mile from the lake, we had hiked and climbed for almost 2 hours longer than the boys even wanted to early on. We moved slowly, but we moved.

 

In the end, we didn't make it to the lake and had to turn around because of how late it was in the afternoon, but what was most impressive was the leadership of these 2 young men who encouraged their peers and let them borrow some of their motivation to get them further and higher than they ever thought they could achieve.

 

Sometimes we need that - to borrow the motivation from others to achieve the impossible or to overcome the challenging. And it's OK when we do because it's those experiences that help us achieve more than we think we're capable of and lets us see things we never would have otherwise.

 

#leadership #motivation

Everyday Leadership #29: Don't Quit  

June 2022 (2 min read)

My daughter introduced me to a song over the weekend that I hadn't heard before. Here are some of the lyrics:

 

"I'm so tired, sitting here waiting

If I hear one more "Just be patient"

It's always gonna stay the same

 

So let me just give up

So let me just let go

If this isn't good for me

Well, I don't wanna know

 

Let me just stop trying

Let me just stop fighting

I don't want your good advice

Or reasons why I'm alright"

 

As I listened to the song with her, I was waiting in anticipation for a turning point - a point of redemption where things got better. It never came. The message was clear... let me be and let me quit.

 

While the music is pretty, the message struck me and not in a good way. Life is tough. Everyone's circumstances are different, and sometimes we need a moment to process our emotions and just feel down or sad for a season. But we WILL be alright! And we NEED each other. We NEED a good support structure of mentors, friends and family to encourage, uplift and challenge us in difficult times.

 

Whatever you do and no matter how difficult things may be, don't quit. Don't leave your head hanging down for long. Don't stop trying. Don't stop fighting. Patience and perseverance combined with some effort pay off in the long run.

 

One bad day, one bad month, or one bad year doesn't have to be permanent. The sun isn't setting on you forever. Today is a new day. Pick your head up and keep fighting. It's worth it.

 

#dontquit #keepfighting

Surround Yourself with Great People  

June 2022 (2 min read)

I just came back from a week visiting a few cities in Brazil with our facility operations teams there.

 

We visited several buildings, inspected the quality of services being contracted, interviewed some of our customers, contractors, and employees, and visited with the area leadership team for a couple of days. It was amazing.

 

I can't help but recognize the power of surrounding yourself with great people and great talent. The team there demonstrated an excellent commitment to high performance and to continuing improvement. They illustrated great value in developing relationships with everyone they work with. And they shared their incredible knowledge-base with me all week long, teaching me more than they realize by their example.

 

Surrounding yourself with great people with the right attitude makes a huge difference in the work environment. It really adds to the possibility of success in any organization.

 

And that's where leaders impact organizational success. Leaders need to invest the time to hire the right talent and the right attitude. But it doesn't stop there. Leaders need to continually invest in their people and their organizations so they continue to develop consistently over time.

 

I can buy a great, dependable top-rated car, but without regular maintenance, gas, and someone competent behind the wheel driving it, the car doesn't go anywhere. The same is true of leadership.

 

Thank you to the Brazil team for highlighting this through your examples this past week!

 

#leadership #teambuilding #success

Everyday Leadership #28: Live. Learn. Improve.  

May 2022 (2 min read)

Championship game last night. We lost to a great basketball team. My boys played really hard but we couldn't pull it off.

 

They were really upset, and rightfully so. They had worked incredibly hard to get here. One of our better players couldn't be there. We had significantly improved a lot from our first game through last night. We probably played our most complete game last week in the first round of the tournament to get here. Our momentum was high.

 

But we lost - yet we won, too. It was just tough for them to see at that moment.

 

1st place in our division.

2nd place in the entire county.

 

My son still cried, but what I loved was his attitude in the face of his adversity. He vowed to practice harder and to get to work on getting better. He committed to improving specific skills that he thought needed work. He promised he would be back to win that championship and hoist that trophy.

 

I think we can all learn from that experience. We lost because we didn't play our best. We didn't focus as well on what made us so good to begin with. I didn't coach my best because of distractions from our circumstances. But in all of that, we have opportunities to improve. The experience is a platform on which we will build to be better. My son's commitment will focus his frustration into productive future outcomes.

 

And that's what it's all about. Live. Learn. Improve.

 

I look forward to next season!

 

#live #learn #improve #greatopportunities #success

Everyday Leadership #27: Animal Crackers - Now or Later? 

May 2022 (2 min read)

Even at 13 years old, my son still loves animal crackers. They are often his snack of choice.

 

At any given time, he can be found with a mouth full of them or with a cup full of them and sometimes even with the whole bag of them. He is growing a ton right now so it's not uncommon for him to eat between every meal. The problem is he sometimes will eat a whole bag of animal crackers if we don't stop him! And then, when it comes time to eat dinner, he won't be super hungry.

 

What's funny is that when we make something he really loves for dinner and he's already eaten a bunch of crackers, he'll have this look of disappointment in his face that he can't eat as much of what he really likes. And as usual, we'll remind him to not eat so many crackers or snacks before a meal next time.

 

Why am I talking about animal crackers and my son's eating habits?

 

Life is full of snacks - things that are appealing and provide a temporary satisfaction - that hold us over enough to get us by. They scratch that "itch" enough to provide some relief. But these are also things that if consumed too heavily or too often and without discipline can ruin our future gains and opportunities. They steal from us the true reward of our patience and focus.

 

"Don't let current appetites rob you of future feasts."

-Brian Buffini

 

Stay focused on your bigger goals. Don't sleep in and skip getting up and exercising today. Don't buy that thing on Amazon when you could make an extra payment on your debt today. Don't fill up on animal crackers when you could wait and enjoy a steak instead.

 

Don't let what can temporarily satisfy now rob you of future growth, success, and fulfillment. You're only stealing from Yourself if you do.

 

#growth #success #future #opportunities #focus

It's the Note You Play Next

May 2022 (2 min read)

I play the piano, percussion, I'm learning the ukulele (slowly), I sing, and I have a guitar I plan to learn at some point.

 

Along all my musical learning journeys, I have practiced and played a lot of music. I've played a lot of music by incredible composers, I've written a little of my own music, and I've arranged some, too.

 

Over that time, some might say I've played a lot of wrong notes - wrong because the composer didn't write it the way I played it.

 

So what makes a note wrong in the first place?

 

Miles Davis, a gifted and very famous jazz musician, was attributed this quote, "It's not the note you play that's the wrong note - it's the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong."

 

In other words, it's what you do next that makes the previous step have or not have value.

 

I don't know about you, but I've taken plenty of missteps in life. I feel like I've made several the last few weeks in particular. Those experiences might stand alone; they might not. It all depends on what I do next because my next choice is what gives value to my last one.

 

"... it's the note you play [next]..."

 

#learning #music #value #leadership

Everyday Leadership #26: Communication and Dirt

May 2022 (2 min read)

What I said was down around the corner. What she heard was down around the corner.

 

What I meant was down the street... around 3 corners. You know... down around the bend to the right then turn left and take the first right. What she understood was down our street in the vicinity of the corner.

 

60 wheelbarrow loads later, all shoveled by hand, my wife had moved some free dirt to our backyard - from the wrong house.

 

That one is obviously on me. I didn't clearly communicate the message and information. I figured she had the same information I did and knew what I meant. And I didn't follow up to make sure we were on the same page. And that's how I met my new neighbors - by introducing myself as the guy who's family just stole all their backyard landscape dirt.

 

Lessons learned: When you communicate, it's important to:

 

1️⃣ Know your audience,

2️⃣ Tailor your message to your audience accordingly,

3️⃣ And check for understanding.

 

If you don't, you might end up taking the wrong neighbor's pile of dirt.

 

#communication #learning #awesomewife

Everyday Leadership #25: Meet Them Where They Are

May 2022 (2 min read)

Another basketball season has begun! I'm coaching one of my sons again, and now my youngest daughter is playing for the first time. So it's basketball story time again!

 

During my daughter's first game, she was confused plenty but picked up playing defense fairly well early on. She ran up and down the floor quickly, kept her hands up most of the time, and was consistent at guarding her person.... on both ends of the court - defensively and offensively!

 

From the bleachers, my oldest son yelled to his sister, "Emma, don't guard your guy when you're on offense. Try to get open to score!"

 

Emma looked up at him and responded, "I don't know when I'm on offense!" 😄

 

I love her honesty!

 

Moral of the story - when it comes to teaching and helping others, meet them where they are. My son's desire was to help his sister be better. The challenge? They are on different levels of experience and understanding. My son was trying to teach her as though she was on the same level as him, but that obviously didn't work.

 

In order to be effective helping and teaching others, you have to meet them where they are. You cannot be an effective coach or teacher or parent or leader without understanding this. You don't help someone run without helping them learn to walk first.

 

Like my son, he won't help my daughter to play offense until she knows what offense is and how it's different from defense.

 

Meet them where they are. It's one of the keys to successfully helping, coaching, teaching and leading others.

 

#coaching #help #leader #teaching #meetthemwheretheyare

Don't Give 110% - You Can't

April 2022 (2 min read)

You cannot give 110%.

 

Just like a cup being filled with water, if you keep filling it, it eventually overflows. It can't be filled more than its capacity.

 

Think about it. Let's assume you only get half as much done as you planned today, so you think you'll make up the time and work the tomorrow. And you might accomplish all of it the next day... but did you really make up time lost from the previous day?

 

Or did you just discover that your capacity is greater when you intentionally focus your effort, attention, and time?

 

Think about the day or week before you go on vacation. How much do you typically accomplish? For a lot of people, these days just before vacation are some of their most productive and effective work days. Why? Because they are highly focused, very intentional, and they have a clear objective.

 

We underestimate our own capacity and often exaggerate our outcome. You cannot give more than your actual capacity. You can, however, get better at giving 100% and at getting closer to giving 100% more of the time.

 

Pay attention to the times you are highly productive and effective. What was your environment like (music, lighting, door open or closed)? What did you say yes to and no to during the day? Did you answer every phone call, text, and email? How did you handle unplanned interruptions? How much sleep did you get the night before? Did you follow a routine to start the day? What did you eat?

 

It's a learning process, and when you learn what contributes to your ability to give 100%, you can do it more often. And when you can do that, your whole world will be different.

 

#give100 #productivity #learning

Everyday Leadership #24: Worth & Value

April 2022 (3 min read)

There's over $300 sitting on my couch. My two oldest sons earned that over the last two months so they could buy their own Xbox. That was the only way we would allow one in our home.

 

They shoveled snow for several people in the neighborhood; they pulled and moved sod for a gentleman; and they did odds and ends frequently to earn whatever they could every opportunity they got.

 

The xbox was worth the effort.

 

They set a goal. They made plans and a budget. And they worked that plan until they reached it. That was almost the only thing they talked about every day since they established their goal.

 

It was a highly valuable experience for both of them.

 

Did I just say the same thing? Or is there a difference between worth and value?

 

I think there's a difference.

 

WORTH can be defined essentially as the cost of production of something. For my boys, the time invested and work they did was their cost of production.

 

VALUE can be defined as the importance you assign or associate with something - like an object, your activity, or an experience. The experience my sons had setting a goal, making a plan and achieving that goal is a lesson they'll build on for their futures. It's important to them because it demonstrates they are capable of achieving their goals when they're focused and make the appropriate effort. It has value - it's highly important to them - because they worked for and earned it themselves.

 

Their Xbox will symbolize both, and every time they play it or invite their friends over to play it, it will be a story and experience they share that will rekindle the feelings and memories of the worth and value they associate with it for having done it themselves. It will be more than just an Xbox for both of them. And how do I know that? Because I can see it in their faces and how they lift their shoulders just a little bit more and smile just a little bit bigger as they talk about it with everyone around.

 

What do you truly 'value'? What is really 'worth' your time and effort?

 

#worth #value #work #goals #effort #learning

Perspective

April 2022 (3 min read)

Last Friday started off with a bang - literally.

 

I was hit going through an intersection by a car turning left through the intersection. Bruised and quite sore from the collision, both of us walked away.

 

As my family and friends were looped in to what happened, they showed great concern for me and my well being. They focused immediately on opportunities to help and ways to make this burden easier to bare.

 

My oldest daughter focused immediately on the other driver after knowing I was ok.

 

My wife focused on me and her gratitude for my safety and that our family was still whole.

 

My youngest 2 boys (3 and 5 years old) focused on the loss of our Durango. It was our car - our truck that pulled our trailer - and it's gone now.

 

And my focus shifted many times that day, from my concern for my physical health to the insurance claim to the process and burden of having to buy a new car to the financial impact our family would now experience to gratitude for my safety and to the calm we felt because of good financial planning my wife and I had done years ago for situations like this.

 

What's the point of sharing this?

 

Perspective.

 

Our perspective changes how we view our life experiences. Where I choose to focus - the perspective I choose to view my life from - impacts what I feel, what I think, and how I react. It influences me.

 

"The lens through which we view our life matters because we will find what we're looking for." -Sarah Butterfield

 

From one perspective, I am frustrated. I am physically hurting and uncomfortable. I am annoyed that we have to buy a new car. I am upset at the situation overall.

 

But from another perspective, I am grateful I was not very seriously injured. I am confident our family will be OK. I am not worried because we're financially prepared for this. And I am touched by so many acts of kindness from friends and family alike.

 

Of these perspectives, I choose the latter. Life will be better that way today.

 

What perspective will you choose to see today?

 

#perspective #gratitude

Where's Your Focus?

March 2022 (3 min read)

He wakes up every day at 5:30a on his own. He doesn't have to get up until a little after 6 for school.

 

He gets dressed and goes into my office, crawls under my desk and turns on my small space heater. He grabs a book to read while he's under there - and not just any book. Right now he's reading "Self-Improvement 101" by John Maxwell.

 

While he reads he takes notes on index cards of the principles that stand out to him or tasks he wants to do to be better.

 

This is what committing to yourself looks like.

 

Are you committed to your own self-care and improvement?

 

Whether we read a book, exercise, or take a few minutes to meditate, we need to dedicate time to these activities daily. This investment of time in yourself is one of the single, largest factors in your future growth and success.

 

You don't need a lot of time to do this, but it's important to do it daily because the real measure of growth and success is simple - are you better today than you were yesterday?

 

#getbetter #selfimprovement #success #successhabits #johnmaxwell

Everyday Leadership #23: Commit to Yourself

March 2022 (2 min read)

He wakes up every day at 5:30a on his own. He doesn't have to get up until a little after 6 for school.

 

He gets dressed and goes into my office, crawls under my desk and turns on my small space heater. He grabs a book to read while he's under there - and not just any book. Right now he's reading "Self-Improvement 101" by John Maxwell.

 

While he reads he takes notes on index cards of the principles that stand out to him or tasks he wants to do to be better.

 

This is what committing to yourself looks like.

 

Are you committed to your own self-care and improvement?

 

Whether we read a book, exercise, or take a few minutes to meditate, we need to dedicate time to these activities daily. This investment of time in yourself is one of the single, largest factors in your future growth and success.

 

You don't need a lot of time to do this, but it's important to do it daily because the real measure of growth and success is simple - are you better today than you were yesterday?

 

#getbetter #selfimprovement #success #successhabits #johnmaxwell

Everyday Leadership #22: Protecting Against Drift

March 2022 (3 min read)

"I'm going to waste my savings today and ruin my financial future..."

 

I doubt you woke up this morning and said that as you looked yourself in the mirror. You probably don't ever wake up with the intent to sabotage your physical, financial, or mental well-being.

 

So why do we often end up so far from our actual goals?

 

DRIFT.

 

Slowly and over time, we just drift. We're not doing it on purpose. It's a natural course of life to do so. We get distracted; the realities of life - of family, of work, of whatever - set in and interfere with our progress and our focus. The trick is to use rumble strips.

 

You've seen these before. Some of us - maybe many of us - have even run over them before. They run along the center line or the shoulder of interstates and highways. And when you hit them, they make an impossible-to-miss loud noise in your car and vibrate it intensely.

 

Why? 👉To let you know you've drifted and need to correct your course. They help you avoid a disasterous outcome.

 

We need the same controls in life... in our financial, our physical, our mental and our social environments. These rumble strips can help us quickly identify when we're off track and need to correct course.

 

These rumble strips might be a friend who helps us exercise regularly and holds us accountable for staying on schedule. They might be an automated alert in our financials to indicate a limit we've hit that we don't want to cross. They might be a weekly self-evaluation to determine where we misstepped and have opportunities to improve.

 

Whatever they are, these rumble strips are needed to protect us as we drift. We need them to avoid unwanted outcomes.

 

If you don't have any rumble strips, maybe it's time to build some into your daily and weekly goals and systems. If you do, stay the course and keep correcting course whenever you find yourself drifting.

 

#drift #focus #successhabits

Everyday Leadership #21: Support Network

March 2022 (2 min read)

Do you have a good support network?

 

A little over a week ago, a friend of one of my sons passed away unexpectedly. At only 9 years old it was a shock to everyone and has been difficult to understand and cope with.

 

The funeral service was a beautiful celebration of this young man's life, and I had the privilege of providing the music for the service. Because of that, I had a seat up in front of the congregation and loved what I saw.

 

Off to the left of my view sat a row full of boys in their basketball and football jerseys... teammates all together, torn apart in their grief yet so unified in their strength together.

 

It was amazing and inspiring to see how they supported each other and collectively processed this tragedy as a team.

 

This experience reiterated to me the power of a great team. Whether difficult roads are upon us or challenging goals are ahead of us, having the support of a great team - just like these boys - makes all the difference in the world.

 

#team #teamwork

Life is Precious

March 2022 (1 min read)

3 weeks ago a friend of mine passed away unexpectedly. Over the weekend, a friend of one of my sons passed away.

 

Both were healthy and happy, living life so well. And yet, with no warning, they slipped beyond this existence.

 

My heart aches, but especially so for my son. At just 10 years old, it's difficult for him to understand what happened to his friend and teammate. Life was full of potential and limitless opportunity, but for now, it seems a bit cruel and unforgiving.

 

I can't help but think of how precious life really is. Love every moment of every day. Live every breath like it matters - because it does. Give your family an extra hug. Say something kind just because you can. Express gratitude and kindness to everyone around you. The world needs it because we never know just how short and precious our lives may be.

 

#livelife #lovelife

Everyday Leadership #20: Excellence is a Habit

February 2022 (3 min read)

Flash forward...

 

As a parent of 7 kids with my wife, this image gave us a glimpse of the future. Our oldest daughter is exploding with potential and becoming a more beautiful woman every day. Her future is bright.

 

Yesterday she got to spend the day with me at work because she didn't have school. She set up in my office and got to work - school work. She never once got distracted or stopped working. She completely owns her education and controls where it's going. She's holding a 4.0 in school right now and excelling quickly in her passion for music in school.

 

Flashback just a couple of years... she routinely missed assignments and seemed almost disinterested in her education yet was overall a good student.

 

Looking at her yesterday, what changed?

 

Her vision, her goals, and her habits.

 

She found what she loves and decided to focus on it. She's set specific goals for what she wants to become and to accomplish, and she's systemized her approach. She has built better habits on that foundation.

 

She has realized that what she does daily produces exactly the outcome she works toward.

 

Thus what Aristotle said has taken shape for her:

 

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

 

Her habits indeed are producing great results, and it's reflected in who she is today and who she is becoming daily as well.

 

Excellence is beautiful on her.

 

#habits #work #vision #successhabits #excellence

Everyday Leadership #19: Sometimes You Win. Sometimes You Learn.

February 2022 (3 min read)

90 seconds to go - we were down by 6.

 

My boys were exhausted. They had fought through an intense game and played extremely well. They just had to push a little harder for another 90 seconds.

 

As the time ticked away, the realization started to set in. The other team scored again.... down by 8... we missed another shot. 10 seconds to go...

 

Then 5 seconds to go...

 

The buzzer sounded as we launched up one last shot.

 

That was it. Game over. Season over. We lost.

 

Immediately as the emotions rose to a peak, the tears began to fall. Our team had put out a masterful effort. We just played the number one team in the league. We led the first half of the game and then went back and forth - point for point - in the second half until the last few minutes.

 

It was incredible to even think we could compete against this team a few weeks before. This was the same team that thrashed us badly the first time (the game where we only had 6 points through the whole game and made a run at the end and kept them from scoring even though we still lost by "only" 19).

 

Looking back at that game specifically and reflecting on our season, we grew so much. We made huge leaps in progress from being a non-competitor to being an equal player against the best team in the league.

 

Tough loss? Absolutely. Probably our toughest because we knew we could win. We believed we would. We had come so far and fought so hard.

 

It didn't go our way in the end, but that's OK. Our growth and learning is our biggest success.

 

John Maxwell says, "Sometimes you Win. Sometimes you Learn."

 

We did a lot of that this season. So congratulations to my boys. Congratulations to my assistant coach. Congratulations to the parents of these young men.

 

We will learn from this and come back better and stronger next season. So here's to our season of learning!

 

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