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Friday, May 27, 2011

Do or don't do, there is no try...

We get a daily report card from Jack's school detailing the events of his day, including his behavior. Yesterday when I asked Rochelle how Jack's day was she said, "not so good, look at his report card." In looking at Jack's daily report card and in listening to Rochelle describe his day I read that Jack's teacher had written that "Jack was trying to be mean to the other children." He was evidently pushing the other children, taking things from them, pulling hair, you know, toddler stuff. After I kind of snickered about it I told Rochelle that it appears to me that Jack wasn't trying to be mean, he WAS being mean, there is a difference.

I was reminded of Yoda's statement to Luke Skywalker (Star Wars) in the mossy swamp as Luke was trying to lift his X-Wing Fighter out of the swamp using only his mind. Luke was struggling and told Yoda that "he was trying." Yoda responded emphatically, "do or don't do, there is no try."

Jack wasn't trying to be mean, he was doing what he set out to do, whether he knew it was mean or not. A lot of people spend a lot of time "trying" to do something but never really accomplishing anything. That is their is excuse for not getting something done: "I'm trying." These people generally always have an excuse why they can't accomplish the task at hand. It's too hard (or heavy in Luke's case), I don't have the right resources, it's someone else's fault I can't get it done. We've all heard the excuses and probably used some ourselves.

"Do or don't do, there is no try." Many times our "trying" is just an excuse for not doing. As leaders we need to empower people to "Do." If they fail, at least they did something. It's when nothing gets done, and people use the excuse of "I'm trying" that we have failed as leaders and they have failed too.

Do or don't do today, but either way, stop using the excuse of "I'm trying." And, stop excepting the excuse of "I'm trying."

Just think about it, I think Yoda was on to something. Jack, while I don't approve of you being mean, at least you weren't trying, you were DOING little boy. Now, mom and dad just need to teach you what is and is not appropriate to do.

Lead strong,


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Change is Inevitable

Marcus Aurelius said that from the moment we are conceived we are changing. With every breath we take we are changing. And, when we die we continue to change while we lie in the ground. Heraclitus said that the only constant is change. Really, to fight change is futile, and exhausting. Granted, change can be daunting, and even painful at times. But change is a reality and an opportunity for new things to take place in our lives. Change is constant, it challenges our routine, and makes us better (or can leave us behind when we fail to embrace it).

I can't believe that I no longer really need Maw Bell to provide phone service for me, my cell phone does everything I need. I find it hard to fathom that a computer can fit in the palm of my hand and no longer fills an entire room. And what would I do without my iPad? I love that thing!! Change. Think about it, do you really want to drive a Model T everyday?

I don't know about your world; your family, your professional life, but mine is in a constant state of change. It's exciting, a little frightening, a little uncertain, challenging, threatening, but exhilarating all at the same time. Stop fighting it, it is going to happen with or without you. Embrace it.Change ushers in a whole new world of opportunities for you. Remember, if you're breathing you're changing. The world around you is changing. Confront the change, own the change, grow with the change.

Just something to think about this Tuesday,

Lead Strong,


Monday, May 2, 2011

New Perspectives

The other night while taking our dogs for their evening walk Rochelle decided to reverse our normal route. While this is no big deal, to someone like me who struggles with a touch of OCD it caused a little discomfort. However, Emily happened to be with us and made a pretty profound statement, "It's amazing what you see when you change directions."

I've been thinking about what Emily so nonchalantly said ever since. As leaders (anyone for that matter) we can get so focused on where we're going that we miss things along the way that can make the journey all the more enjoyable, or even doable. Emily was absolutely right, because we had become so accustomed to taking the same route day after day we missed things along the way. But when we changed our direction we all of a sudden noticed things that were there all the time but that we missed because we were so focused on our chosen direction. The funny thing is as Emily pointed out, we still arrived at our chosen destination, but with a new perspective. Maybe it's just me, but that statement holds a lot of truth, leave it to a 17 year old with senioritis.

As I've been thinking about Emily's comments I've started to apply them to some tasks I'm working on. Have I been so focused on my destination and the route I've chosen to get there that I've missed things a long the way? Is there another route that can lead me to my preferred destination while giving me new perspectives? Have I made the journey more arduous then it should be by being locked into my route? Have I missed some incredible things along the way by not changing my route soon enough? Wow Emily, you've really made me think. Out of the mouth of babes as Scripture says.

I encourage you to think about this as well. By the way, last night Rochelle completely changed our route... enough is enough Rochelle. My OCD can only handle so much at once.

Lead Strong,