Is Your Stamina Equal to Your Talent?

I am inspired by the words of American novelist, John Irving, who said of his writing … “More than half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting. I wouldn’t say I have a talent that’s special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina.”             

Often people ask me how and why I write this blog. For those of you who read it, you know by now it is not because of some special talent that I have. I guess it is a stamina thing with me too. That, and a genuine desire to keep growing as a leader and sharing what I learn.

Most nights, about nine o’clock, I sit down and I write. I have no idea why I do it. Many nights I don’t want to do it. I don’t get paid to do it. Maybe I shouldn’t do it? But to use a well-worn phrase, I “just do it.”

Over the last few years it has occurred to me that much of what is accomplished in this world is due more to stamina than it is talent. That is a good thing for most of us.

As a leader, it is impossible for you to hit a home run every day. But it is possible for you to take a swing. Keep swinging long enough and you are bound to make contact at some point.

Find something you are passionate about and start doing it. Over and over, day after day. Lead, speak, sing, make music, paint, draw, blog, read, or write. The context matters little.  Just do something and do your best.

Thanks for the reminder, John Irving. People all over the world need for us to contribute and to bring endurance.

Let’s do it!


What is one area of interest where you would like to have more stamina?

Alignment Multiplies Impact

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time encouraging the coaches in a high-performance sports organization. Our topic was the power of alignment. 

PNC Park

The reality is, alignment multiplies impact. Statistic show, less than 10% of organizations have behaviors that are are truly aligned with their strategies. How can this be?

What do you dream about accomplishing in your organization, with your family, or through your team? Better yet, what are you doing about it? If what you dream about isn’t aligned with how you live it out, you will never get what you dream about.

If you really want to take your leadership to a higher level, check your alignment. It will multiply your impact and help you reach your dream. 


Why do you think so few people have behaviors that are aligned to their dreams?

The Secret to Great Work

In addition to his painting, Pablo Picasso found time to dish out a bit or two of philosophy.

The great artist’s words challenge me to no end. “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” In other words, great solitude is the secret to great work.

It begs the question, “What is GREAT solitude?”

Yesterday afternoon I sat on my porch for an hour and thought about solitude. Within the first three minutes I found myself struggling. The phone rang. Thankfully I had left it in the house. But I could still hear it. Who could it be? I wonder if it is important? Should I go answer it? … my mind ran wild with possibilities. I resisted the urge to leave the quiet.

Everyday the noise grows. Solitude struggles to compete.

Here are three ways to make your solitude great. 

  • Make a decision. Unless you prioritize solitude it will not happen. Please don’t kid yourself. You are like every other leader and the demands on your time are very real. Ask yourself the question, “Is solitude really important or was Picasso just high on paint fumes? If you decide it is important then make time for it. 
  • Schedule it. It’s one thing to make a decision, but making a decision is not the same as making it onto your calendar. Pick a day, set a time, and show up.
  • Create a habit. If solitude really matters, it needs to make it onto your calendar more than once. If you want to see the benefits of solitude make a commitment to practice at least once a week for the coming 90 days. By giving solitude a chance you will position yourself for maximum results.

By the end of my hour yesterday something crazy happened. My mind started wandering. Not toward the inside and the things I was missing, but rather toward my next opportunity for solitude. I’m actually looking forward to it. 

Like any other area of my leadership, I am believing if I put time on the task of practicing solitude it will lead to more fulfillment and greater effectiveness. I challenge you to do the same.


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Is it Time to Purge Your Leadership Closet?

A few weeks ago I spent time purging my closet. It happened as a result of reading Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism.

In the book there is a powerful quote from the late Peter Drucker, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, ‘this isn’t for me.'”

As I worked in the closet, I kept saying ‘no’ to item after item … several times out loud. I knew it was weird when I turned and saw my wife watching. Her question, “Are you talking to your clothes?,” was a bit disturbing, but it didn’t slow me down. I prevailed, and the closet is much better.

But there is another closet. It’s my leadership closet, and if I’m honest, it is a bit cluttered as well. Cluttered with demands on my time, and littered with ideas for resources I will never have time to produce.

The leadership closet is relentless, always demanding more than I have the capacity to deliver.

I love McKeown’s words, “The way of the Essentialist means living by design, not by default.” 

Design means eliminating more than you add. It requires a leader to carefully consider the ramifications of saying yes. And the affects are always more than time. There are emotional and physical tolls to be paid when we say yes to everything. We also dilute our effectiveness when we water down our leadership.

Is it time for you to declutter your leadership closet? As you prepare for a new month spend time designing the life you want, refusing to give in to, “this is just the way it is,” thinking.

If you want to go to another level it will require saying no to default mode and yes to designing the life you want.


What is one thing you need to eliminate during the coming month?