Are You Trying to be Better than Yourself?

American author, William Faulkner wrote, “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

Having a target ensures that you will at least take aim. However, making what the last guy accomplished your target will only cause you to shoot backwards.

If you want to reach your full potential, try to be better than yourself.

The key word is reach!

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is one thing you need to “reach” for before the end of 2014?

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The Power of Incremental Focus

Mark Twain once wrote, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

As you begin a new day, focus on getting off to a good start.

If you are like me, things are probably more complex in your world than they have ever been. Perhaps even overwhelming?

If so, go back to placing a priority on one small step at a time. Incremental focus will lead to a great day. (tweet)

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is one area of your leadership that needs incremental focus today?

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A Little Change Can Make a Big Difference

A little change can make a big difference.

One degree causes water to boil if it is degree number 212. One yard scores a touchdown if it is the last one. One point changes a ‘B’ to an ‘A.’

A little change of attitude is no different. One letter can transform an organization. Take rigor and vigor, for example.

I know many leaders who are rigorous, which is defined as, “Adhering strictly or inflexibly to a way of doing something; severe; harsh.”

Vigorous, on the other hand, means, “Strong, healthy & full of energy.”

Rigorous leaders and their organizations are stale, stern, and relationally lifeless.

Vigorous leaders and their environments are focused, fun, and have high morale.

So what kind of leader are you? Rigorous or vigorous?

There isn’t much difference between the two. Only one little letter and a leader who understands the importance of having the right attitude.

Moving forward, why not make vigor your priority? It might make a big difference.

Leadership Begins at Home,


What is one little change you need to make this week?


Are You Chasing Flawless?

A few weeks ago, the definition of flawless was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Without fanfare, perhaps the greatest lineman in NFL history, Walter Jones, took his place among football immortals. According to Jones, the gold jacket was an unlikely ending to his life in football. In his own words, “All I ever wanted was to make it to the NFL.”

Jones, who played only for the Seattle Seahawks, did more than make it. He was simply great. During his amazing career he proved to be a 6’5, 325 pound, wall on the left side of the Seahawks offensive line. As a left tackle he was virtually perfect.

Consider that Jones was responsible for protecting the quarterback on over 5,500 passes during his career, and yet yielded only 23 sacks. Or, how about the fact that Jones made it to the Pro Bowl 9 times, the same number of times he was flagged for holding during his entire 13 year career.

When asked about his big left tackle, Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren said, “Walter is the best offensive player I have ever coached.” By the way, in case you didn’t know, Holmgren coached Jerry Rice, Joe Montanna, Steve Young, and Brett Farve. Talk about high praise!

Walter demonstrated the physical toughness to impose his will on his opponents. His training regimen included pushing an SUV on hot summer days at his Alabama home. But Jones toughness was not merely physical. Perhaps more importantly, he possessed the mental strength to also do his work the right way, without shortcuts.

When I think of Walter Jones, I am challenged to reach for excellence in my own work.

Big Walt ended up in Canton because he chased greatness. Day by day, one practice and one snap at a time. As you lead today I encourage you to focus on flawless on your field. Give your team the best you have and then show up tomorrow and do it again.

Who knows? You might become a legend too.

Leadership Begins at Home,


Why do you think some leaders reach for greatness while others settle for being good?

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Do You Know the Principle of a Little or a Lot?

Recently, I was having a discussion with my daughter and she was telling me about one of her college professors.

She made the observation that the prof only teaches a limited amount of subject matter, compared to her other professors who teach multiple subjects within their chosen field.

The professor, when asked why he only teaches his subject at the micro level, recently told the class: “You can know a little about a lot or a lot about a little, but not both.”

Wow!  What a great statement.

The truth of that principle goes way beyond the classroom. In fact, it applies to every area of life, especially leadership.

The question is, which is better? That depends on your context.

The point is not to prove that one is better than the other. The point is to make sure you are aware of the principle so you can apply it to your situation.

For some of you, it is vital that you have a big picture broad perspective. For others, you need to be more focused and take a narrow approach.

Sprinters are very fast, but not for long. Distance runners can go a long way, but not very fast. The principle applies.

When it comes to relationships, you can have a few at a deeper level, or dozens that are very shallow. Again the principle applies.

If you want to maximize your influence, you better learn the principle of a little or a lot.

“You can know a little about a lot or a lot about a little, but not both.”

Leadership Begins at Home,


Which is more important in your leadership context, a little about a lot or a lot about a little?

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