“Power isn’t control at all — power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
― Beth Revis
You may have heard about the recent event on United Airlines that resulted in having a passenger forcibly removed from a plane. It was an event that you’d think would never happen unless that passenger was threat to others or the plane. In this case it was just someone unfortunate enough to be “randomly” selected to give up their seat to an United employee.
The event is a great lesson in leadership or the lack of leadership. Years ago a great experiment was conducted, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” which demonstrated that just following the rules can lead to unwelcome outcomes. Something similar happened when the gate agents followed their rules and asked for some help from the security contingent. The security team decided to forcibly remove the passenger (just doing their job). In the process of removing the passenger, the passenger was injured. As it turns out people will conform to their roles and act accordingly.
When leadership doesn’t empower their employees to provide great customer service they rely on the rules, rules that don’t take into consideration the meaning and real value of the people who are to be served.
What would need to change for United to be a customer focused organization?
“ In meditation we discover our inherent restlessness. Sometimes we get up and leave. Sometimes we sit there but our bodies wiggle and squirm and our minds go far away. This can be so uncomfortable that we feel’s it’s impossible to stay. Yet this feeling can teach us not just about ourselves but what it is to be human…we really don’t want to stay with the nakedness of our present experience. It goes against the grain to stay present. These are the times when only gentleness and a sense of humor can give us the strength to settle down…so whenever we wander off, we gently encourage ourselves to “stay” and settle down. Are we experiencing restlessness? Stay! Are fear and loathing out of control? Stay! Aching knees and throbbing back? Stay! What’s for lunch? Stay! I can’t stand this another minute! Stay!””
― Pema Chödrön
When was the last time you stopped what you were doing to do nothing?
What was the last time you stopped to take in a deep breath just to feel the air filling your lungs?
When was the last time you stopped to watch the sky change colors?
What was the last time you dipped your hand into a stream?
Busyness crowds out living. Being busy and doing things is what most people are trained to do. People are trained to start moving at sunrise and to stop moving when there is no energy left to move. Tomorrow crowds out today. Life is filled with anxious moments of pleasing others. Am I good enough?
Take time to put life on pause. Just stop for a few moments and watch your thoughts. What are your thoughts telling you? Do you really want to know?
Put yourself on a diet. Stop doing so you can start being. Most people are “doing” and that is like eating fast food for every meal. Too much doing crowds out the nourishment of being.
It’s time for a pause.
“No matter our talent, we all know in the midnight of our souls that 90 percent of what we do is less than our best.”
― Robert McKee
Are you doing your best? Are you the best performer at work, at home or wherever you are? Maybe you don’t have to be the best. Maybe you can get by with what you are doing now. Maybe you don’t have to expend the energy to do better or be better. However if you do want to be better, how are you going to do that?
The vast majority of people have a lot of untapped talent they could use to do things better, to live life better, or to contribute more, or to be a better person and they don’t do anything about it. “I don’t need help …” might be their inner mantra. I don’t need any help to be better. I can do it myself.
Most top performers realize that reaching their peak performance does require some outside assistance. It is about breathing air into an aspect of life that has been left untapped that can result in a new level of personal or professional performance. Maybe it is eliminating some hidden fear that keeps the person from realizing their full potential.
Have you asked the questions, “What would it be like if I could be just 4% better than I am now?” What would that be like? What would that mean to future opportunities or more personal happiness? The default future is yours if you want it that way. The created future, the exciting, bold rewarding future is yours as well. Which path do you want to travel?
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
― Andrew Carnegie
Uncommon. It’s uncommon to honor real teamwork. It is common to select individuals from a team and point out their achievements. This week something uncommon will happen. The UConn women’s basketball team may achieve a remarkable feat – 100 consecutive wins. It hasn’t happened before. It’s uncommon.
In an age that celebrates individual accomplishments, the “I” it is uncommon to see how a real team can perform and accomplish something really uncommon.
What does it take? It takes leadership to get there. It takes commitment from each team member to work for the benefit of the team.
Now, because it is a women’s team that is achieving this remarkable goal it will not likely be a major news story. If it were a men’s team it would be written about how great the coach is and how great the team is and how great each team member is. Why is that? Excellence is excellence no matter if it is a male team or a female team that is achieving extraordinary results.
Teams win … individuals contribute and it takes great leadership to create the conditions and culture for teamwork to thrive. This year the UConn women’s basketball team has the chance to realize 100 wins an amazing feat.
When you look at what you do, are you focused on team wins or individual performance? Who are the people working as teams? Who are the individual high performers? What would you like to see more of teamwork or individual performance?
Remember teams win … is it uncommon?
“Rarely do we realize that if we simply take time to marvel at life’s gifts and give thanks for them, we activate stunning opportunities to increase their influence in our lives.” Angeles Arrien
What have you seen lately that has been stunning?
- A stunning sunrise
- A stunning sunset
- A place of stunning beauty
- A stunning piece of work
- A stunning day
When did you have your last stunning moment?
What would it take to experience a stunning event?
Create one. Create something stunning today. Make something happen that will be powerful for you or someone else. You can do it.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill
What is success?
What does success for you look like? Have you taken the time to define what success is for you? It could be success at home, at work, in the community or success as a friend. What is your measure for success in life?
Perhaps it starts with the idea of your personal vision. What are you working towards? What are your goals? Are those goals motivating you to higher levels of personal and professional performance?
You can think of success in terms of your personal brand, what you stand for and who you are. Does your personal brand shine? When I work with people who are looking for a new career path many of them have no idea of what their personal brand is. If they are asked how they are viewed by others many just don’t know. If they are asked what their key contribution was they aren’t really sure. If your personal brand is a success then what does it look like? How do you describe it?
How is your life making a difference? It doesn’t have to be some monumental outcome, but there should be something that you’ve done that has made a difference. What have you done that has made a difference? Think about it.
If you feel you have reached some level of success, are you content? Are you at peace with where you are in life? If not, why not? If yes, then why? What has success enabled you to feel or do?
What has been your greatest success? What will be your next success?