“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?
Start with this from Bruce Schneider the founder of iPEC coaching:
One day you will awaken to realize that you’ve spent nearly all your time worrying about things you cannot control, being bothered by insignificant annoyances, and focusing on ego-related challenges.
On that day, you will also know that you’ve missed seeing a beautiful and entertaining world; a world filled with mystery, suspense, drama, comedy, and an unlimited opportunity to observe and fully appreciate the human experience.
Hopefully, that day will come soon, because when it does, you will smile as your body fills with a warmth that you will recognize as joy and you will be incredibly grateful that you are still alive and can choose how you want to spend the rest of your life.”
How do you want to create your life?
What is stopping you?
Where are your steps taking you?
“Endings are abstruse, mystic and unreal. They are but depleted beginnings purposed to be substituted with newer ones.A transition of outlook and time, similar to our differing moods before and after slumber. Before the act we witness an exhaustion, a sulkiness but on gaining consciousness, we’re rejuvenated and good humored. The wakefulness is the new beginning whereas the tension the disturbance we perceive each night is the weariness of the beginnings, of each day. So there never really is an end, all that there are are beginnings. Beginnings which are promising, which offer hope, which have a new leash on life, which neither denounce nor belittle rather soothe and console by reconstructing the broken pieces of yesterday, mending them and reinforcing them with courage and beauty like never before.”
― Chirag Tulsiani
A few short days from now it will be time to design, develop and create a new plan. A plan that will help you do better, to live more fully, to exhibit greater joy, to experience life at its best. It’s time to being again.
Break free from the troubled past and embrace the unfolding moment with vigor. Change what you can change. Focus on becoming your best. Maybe it didn’t happen in the past 12 months so make it happen in the next 12. Give it a try.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou
Take a break! Stop for a few minutes and stop doing and breathe. If your only focus is on doing then it will become your undoing. The brain needs a break and you need a break. You can optimally perform for only short periods of time. Trying to perform at a high level for a long period of time doesn’t work well. The brain consumes a lot of energy and that energy needs to be replenished. You can increase your effectiveness by taking breaks – 5 or 10 minutes each hour.
It is hard to take a break when everyone else appears to be busy, but are they? Are the people glued to their work really being more productive? They might be appearing to be busy and not producing as much as they could. If they are at their desk then it is hard to step away from yours to take time to move and breathe. It is time for you to get up and move. Do some deep breathing for a few minutes, get up and walk for five minutes and then restart your work. You’ll likely find that you can get more done in less time.
Plan your day so that you do have ample time to take short powerful breaks. Breath in slowly and exhale slowly for 3 minutes which can be done while you’re taking a walk. Movement and breath are both critical for maximizing your ability to think and perform.
Ideally you’d take a break every hour for 5 minutes and move.
Just begin. Take the breaks and see if your endurance and energy increases. Practice daily until it is a habit. Break free and get up and move.
“The measure of a man is what he does with power.”
What kind of power do you have?
How do you use your power?
First we have to define what power is? Is power the ability to carry out a goal despite resistance? Do you have the power to achieve your goals or do you experience some form of resistance from others or from other things? Do you have the power to influence? How did you answer those questions?
Getting out of bed in the morning means having power over self. Perhaps you have to face the temptation and desire to stay in bed. When you don’t find that activation energy to get out of bed it seems that the bed has more power than you do.
Do you have power over your habits? Do you find it easy to change the way you behave and act? Do you find it easy to change how you eat, exercise, sleep or relate to others? What would you want to change? Where would you like power that you don’t have power now?
Where does power show up at your work? Do you have equal power with others or do you feel you have less or perhaps more power than others do? If you do have power then how do you use that power? What kind of power do you have? Do you have control over outcomes?
What does your power look like? Is it power over others? Is it power through others? Is it power with others?
How do you use your power? Do you use it to create more value? Do you use it to control others? Do you use it to empower others?
Think about how you use your power. Think about how others see your power and how it impacts them. What would you like to change?