Blur … Slow Down!

OK, Summer is over … Gone! It’s August. No more sleeping in kiddo’s. No more vacations big people.

The past couple of months went by in a blink. Perhaps you participated at a pace that has you more wasted than rested. If so, I have two words for you.

Slow down!

Two words we all need to hear every day. Why? Because most days are a blur.

Speed has become our obsession. We speed dial, speed walk, speed read, and even speed date.

As a culture we are hurrying through life instead of really living it.

We ingrain hurry into our children from birth. We fly through bed time prayers and attempt to read Dr. Seuss to our kids at warp speed. No wonder we are tongue tied . . . and fried.

Couples go to dinner and one or both of them stay glued to a cell phone the entire time. Kids spend hours on social media and wonder where the time has gone.

Hello … It’s August, and Christmas is next week!

Slow down and look into someone’s eyes today. Talk with your spouse. Listen to your kid. Introduce yourself to a stranger.

Speed kills relationships. And the last time I checked, relationships are the point.

You can’t hurry some things. Love is at the top of the list.

Why not make a decision today to battle the blur?

Over the next few days I will be writing about how you can succeed in this fight.

Until tomorrow . . . Slow down!

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

Pick an activity today and spend 10 minutes training yourself to slow down.

Ideas:

  1. Drive under the speed limit.
  2. Drive in the slow lane
  3. Choose the longest checkout line.
  4. Avoid the drive-thru.
  5. Sit quietly and look out the window.

How are you doing when it comes to your battle with Blur?  Do you have other ideas to train yourself to slow down?

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Are You on the Right Road?

As I awaken today, I am really excited about my future. More excited than I have been in a long time. I’m convinced it is because I recently made a turn onto a different road in my work life.

A few months ago I was on pavement. The same pavement I had been on for several years. It was a comfortable road with friends I love and work that came easy. But over time, the blacktop had become too familiar; the landscape changing very little.

It was a good road. Just no longer the right road for me.

I remember the way I felt as I considered my choice. A painful choice. Should I stay on my comfortable road, or should I exit off and head in a new direction? I knew exiting would require courage and, even worse, a departure from some of the greatest teammates on the planet. Perhaps these realizations kept me on the pavement longer than I intended … I have no regrets.

Two things convinced me to turn on the blinker.

First, I knew in my heart the road I was on would never take me to the place I dream of going. Truthfully, I’m not even sure I know the name of my destination. I do know it will be a place where my gifts and talents will be called on to encourage leaders and teams on a broader scale.

The second reason I made the turn is I remembered the old adage, “Your direction determines your destination.” I knew the longer I stayed on my old road, the further I would ultimately end up from my target.

Dirt Road

My new road is dirt. Unfamiliar and rugged. The horizon is distant. But after years of being a traveler, I am both smart enough to know I am naive, and quite certain I am headed in the right direction.

So, how about you? Are you on the right road?

If not, I want to remind you that you are running out of time. There is only so much fuel left in your tank.

At some point, you also will be faced with a choice. You can stay on the pavement, or turn onto the dirt. The question is, where do you want to end up? Remember, like me, your direction will determine your destination.

The dirt road is scary, but it sure is exhilarating and the view is amazing.

And by the way, you won’t be alone. It is where you will find me.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What is one change you need to make over the next year?

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Have You Become Too Civilized?

Over the weekend, I ran across Rocky III on AMC, and I couldn’t resist. The movie is a leadership case study.

It begins with Rocky winning the Heavyweight Championship, leading to the spoils of victory. Namely, a life of luxury.

After several months on Easy Street, Rocky is challenged by #1 contender, Mr. T. (a.k.a. Clubber Lang). Before the fight Rocky makes a terrible assumption. He assumes greatness is a given based on the fact he was once great. WRONG!

Rocky’s trusty trainer, Mick, tries to warn him. His words are legendary. “The worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized.” 

Rocky agrees to the fight despite the warning from Mick and, predictably, Clubber knocks his block off.

Rocky

For leaders, just like fighters, the biggest threat to tomorrow’s result is yesterday’s success. If we are not careful, we can get sucked into the allure of achievement.

Lately, I’m asking myself if there are areas where I have become civilized. I encourage you to look in the mirror too.

Rocky eventually gained the title back. But it took a beating to make him hungry again. I hope the same isn’t required for us.

Please don’t go off and get yourself civilized. It is the worst thing that can happen to any leader.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What are some of the reasons a leader can lose his hunger to be great?

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It All Depends on How You Look at It

It’s Monday, the dawning of a new week. For some, you see it as an opportunity. For others, another day of drudgery.

Let’s face it, the beauty of a sunrise can become distorted by the reality of challenging circumstances.

Sunrise

If you want to have a great week, refuse to look at your challenges and focus on your blessings. While you may feel imprisoned, the sun is shining. 

A couple of nights ago, I went to bed, exhausted, only to find my wife had washed the sheets and they were still in the dryer. I had a choice to make. I could either embrace frustration and complain toward the person I love the most. Or, I could breathe a prayer of gratefulness, remembering that thousands around the world don’t even have a mattress, much less clean sheets.

Gratefulness is a choice rooted in perspective. You will be a better leader if you will make the choice to start with what is right in your world rather than what is wrong.

This really can be a great week. It all depends on how you look at it.

Leadership Begins at Home,

Randy

What are 3 things you are grateful for today?

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Under Construction

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to be on three different college campuses. Each place I visited had one thing in common. They were all under construction.

The renovations caught me a bit off guard. Having been on each of the campuses before, I expected them to be pristine and neat, especially considering the recent graduation season.

One other thing I noticed at each place was the small number of students. It quickly hit me that each of the campuses is focused on taking advantage of their downtime to make some improvements. One other note – the three colleges have no ties to each other. In fact, they are all three in different states, and I’m assuming their presidents didn’t check with each other to see if this would be a good time to remodel.

So, why would three campuses that were adequate to educate students a month ago decide to make changes before August? Because they are led by someone who has a vision for a preferred future.

As a leader, if you want to make progress and see things go to another level, it is imperative that you recognize the rhythm of your year and take advantage of your down time for more than just rest. Your down time is also a great time to do some renovating.

The reality is, if you continue at your current pace, refusing to take time to be creative and to work on the development side of your work, it is unlikely things will change over the next year.

Your systems and structures are dated and will eventually run their course. They must be reworked if you are to remain relevant.

With summer upon us, I encourage you to put your “leadership campus” under construction. You can do this by carving out consistent time each week during June and July to rework your habits, systems, and to even evaluate and reorganize your team. You might also consider an extended 2-3 day retreat for personal reflection and evaluation. The point is, don’t be afraid to put something on hold, especially if remodeling it has the potential to lead to greater results.

My wife and I recently remodeled a couple of rooms in the home we have lived in for the last decade. Tomorrow I will tell you what I learned and what you can expect if you decide to put your leadership under construction. Until then, open up your calendar and schedule your summer take it to the next level construction project. Your leadership needs it, and I’m guessing your students do too.

Leadership begins at home, 

Randy

What is one thing in your life you need to renovate over the next 60 days?

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