There are five things you can do to lead your team through challenge.
“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.” Washington Irving
I had a major setback that occurred about 3 weeks ago. I’m optimistically planning on running the Chicago marathon for the 3rd consecutive year and this was to be week 4 of official training. I had been logging some decent miles, but now it’s time to get serious and get to the grind.
I have two amazing dogs that I run with Moose and Belle. They are German Shorthaired Pointers and if you know the breed you know they are highly energetic dogs. These two are no exception. From the moment we wake up they demand attention just like a toddler. GSP’s are also very smart dogs. They know work clothes from running clothes. The minute they see the running shoes they get the zoomies.
It is hilarious to watch
But you know that saying it’s all fun until someone gets hurt. Bam! Moose zoomied right into my kneecap.
We still hit the pavement for 6 miles that day and with all certainty that made it worse. The knee is down and out and now the thing he wanted to do most we can’t do. Three weeks later its still not healed enough to put training miles on it.
Which road to take?
Decision time! There are two possible roads to take. Quit. Many would say this race is going to get canceled due to COVID anyway and now you can’t even train. You have an out. In fact, you have two outs. Or modify and adjust the plan to stick to this goal.
Many times, in business and life things aren’t going to go exactly as planned. In my experience, I’ve seen too many quit on a goal or a project because some of the initial milestones did not go as planned. This major mistake of giving up instead of retooling is what is getting in their way of unleashing their true potential. It’s why so many leaders plateau instead of rising to new levels of success. Anything worth doing is worth the struggle. Average is easy. It doesn’t take much effort to be an average leader. Greatness? Greatness doesn’t come easy. If it did, we would all be great. Greatness comes by pushing through adversity, rising through challenges, being true to your purpose and overcoming any and all obstacles that come your way.
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela
“Don’t let the negatives of life control you. Rise above them. Use them as your steppingstones to go higher than you ever dreamed possible.” Mary Kay Ash
Here are some things that will lead your team through challenge (more…)
“Do one thing every day that scares you” Eleanor Roosevelt
For Father’s Day this year my daughter had a great idea to make dad a gift. She is 21 so hand made gifts have not happened at the Thompson household in quite a while and since she is beyond the years of drawing faces on golf balls and such, she thought it would be awesome to make him a grill prep table. She was right. It would be awesome. He never has enough workspace when he’s out there grilling and he always must run in and out balancing way to much in his hands.
But, how do you make a table? I’ve been in the furniture industry for 27 years, but I sell the stuff I don’t make it. No clue on how to make a table. You would think we could find the perfect table on YouTube. There were a lot of good tables. They just weren’t great. We were going to have to do this on our own or just skip it and think of something else. We’ve never built anything before. Zero experience.
Here’s How We Did It
Several trips to hardware stores
– so much math it made our heads hurt
– we came home with the supplies
– and then we went back for more
– and then maybe there was a third trip.
The table is built. The table is not good. It is not great. It is fricken’ awesome. This table rocks – and I know tables. We crushed it! There were a lot of high fives along the way as we couldn’t believe what we just accomplished. None was as great as when the entire box came together to form the table. We were so worried that we could get 2 or 3 sides together, but our dowels wouldn’t line up and that the last piece wouldn’t go in. It did, and did I mention that its fricken’ awesome?
Whether you win or you lose find the lesson. We were lucky and won this time. The lesson you must try new things. You can do the same things and have an ordinary life, or you can stretch yourself to try new things and have an extraordinary life. How do you know what you are capable of if you do not try? Sure, we could have bought dad another tie and he would have loved that it came from us, but this table . . .wow!
“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” –Michelle Obama
“Life is worthwhile if you try. It doesn’t mean you can do everything, but there are a lot of things you can do, if you just try.” –Jim Rohn
“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things.” –Carol S. Dweck
“There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great.” Lois Lane Justice League
There’s a lesson everywhere there is a learner.
I was reminded of a great leadership lesson, how to lead your team to achieve that large goal, last night. We did some binge-watching and one of the movies we watched was Justice League.
There’s a scene in this movie that many leaders can relate to. Batman assembled Wonder Woman, Barry Allen AKA Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to form the Justice League. It’s the first action scene for the newly created team and Barry Allen panics. He gets overwhelmed with fear of the thought of going into battle for the first time and his inexperience and the size of the conflict paralyze him. He’s a mess. Batman who has been leading the group up until this point tells him “save one.” Repeating this “save one” he calms Flash down to a point where he can focus. Flash then asks, “and then?” to which Batman responds, “then you’ll know.”
Spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen the movie skip the rest of this paragraph. Flash then goes in and rescues one person. Realizing what he had just accomplished and that the task wasn’t so daunting he immediately goes in and saves another, and then another and another until he has rescued all the hostages.
Make the Impossible Possible
There is a great leadership lesson in this for all of us. There will be times when you must lead your team to achieve large goals. Just the thought of not knowing where to start will paralyze them with fear. You may or soon may be facing these types of situations now with COVID and stay at home forcing you to do business differently.
“The world has grown dark, and while we have reasons to fear we have the strength not to. There are heroes among us, to remind us that only from fear, comes courage. That only from the darkness, can we truly feel the light.” Lois Lane, Justice League
Leadership is taking the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and presenting it in an attainable way to the team. Making the impossible possible. (more…)
“The first duty of love is to listen.” Paul Tillich
This last week has been a very hard week. I almost didn’t post. This is a painful time for us. The events going on around all of us are heartbreaking.
Like so many of you, I am sad, angry, and devastated by recent events in our country. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others are senseless, inexcusable and reflect the deeply ingrained racial prejudice and injustice that still exists in our communities today.
As a mom, a wife, a leader it is stirring many emotions and questions. How can this happen? What can I do? I think back to my own experiences and wonder if I could have done more. I remember an employee sharing with me how often he was needlessly pulled over on the way to work because of the color of his skin. It seems minor compared to today’s devastation but is it? Where does it start and how does it end? We must believe we are all made better by diversity and center on the notion of creating a world where everyone respected, appreciated and able to be themselves.
We need change. It begins not only by speaking out, but by listening. Listen to those around you as they share what it’s like to be a person of color in our country today or LGBTQ or Middle Eastern. We need to open our ears and then our hearts. Listen more and talk less. We don’t need to respond we just need to care. We don’t have those experiences and can’t even imagine them, but we can care and love.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama
You are going to leave a leadership legacy whether you are intentional or not. Take the time to create a meaningful Leadership Legacy Statement and write your own story.
Happy Memorial Day 2020
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” John F Kennedy
“If you want to thank a soldier, be the kind of American worth fighting for.”
“It takes the best in each of us to make the best world for all of us.”
Memorial Day is about taking a time out and remembering. As a leader when people take a time out how do you want them to remember you? What type of memorial impression are you leaving on them? Are you creating the leadership legacy that you expect?
Perhaps leaving a legacy is too far out there for you to think about today. How about this? When you enter the room are those you lead excited to see you? (more…)
Be a leader with Optimism
“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” Christine Caine
This week I am adjusting my schedule to what the new norm will be. It’s been nice writing and recording on Monday mornings, but the reality is when the stay at home is lifted I most likely won’t be free Monday mornings. So I encourage you – if you’ve started something new during the pandemic – reading – walking – writing – running whatever it is think about how and when you do it now and how and when you will do it when our lives move into the new normal. You’ve come this far – don’t give it all up because it doesn’t fit into that schedule. Start shifting your schedule now. I sent out a challenge a couple of weeks ago to try and get up 10 minutes earlier every day – that’s a great place to start. Heck – right now – even setting an alarm to get up in the morning may be a great place to start.
Proud parents of an MSU grad
This week was very special for our family. Our daughter Mattie graduated from Michigan State. We couldn’t be prouder. Of course she didn’t get to walk, so my Aunt, who is probably the most positive and optimistic person I know, picked up the ball and ran with it by scheduling a Zoomuation. The power of Zoom is not just for business and education it is a great way to connect. Truly having experienced this yesterday I would choose Zoom over a real graduation any day.
- not sitting for 2 hours just for the 5 seconds they announce your grads name
- with family all over the country we were limited to who could have been able to attend
- with the camera on we were able to focus on each other instead of breaking up into little clicks
And for Mattie instead of competing with thousands of other grads she truly got to be the center of attention. The day was all about her.
This quote makes me think of my Aunt’s actions
“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control instead shift your energy to what you can create.” Roy Bennett
She completely created an amazing event for her niece with her optimism.
Why you should be a leader with optimism (more…)