Perspective and Promise

It is funny how many of the problems we had six weeks ago seem so insignificant now. I mean, six weeks ago if I woke up and realized that we had not put my wife’s car in the garage and there was a few inches of snow on it and the car would be cold for her…well, that would have been an issue.

Now, I would be looking at at least five more minutes of distraction to my morning routine.

Sounds kind of funny now. Actually, it sounds kind of pathetic!

But, there we were on April 17th and we woke up to snow and not just a few flurries.

Homeschooling, wife and I are working from home, need more groceries (never knew we ate this much as a family), have a sink full of dishes (is it just me or are dirty dishes now a never-ending deal?!), and now I had to find the kids’ snow gear because I know they will be all over playing outside.

I have to be honest – I love it. Not every single minute of it, but as I have said before, this has been a blessing in disguise for our family.

Do not get me wrong…we have struggles. My business has been severely impacted by the pandemic, Nancy’s sales job, like so many others, has been as much about coming up with a system and process while living inside of a three-ring circus as letting customers know she is there for them and whatever they need…well, she will take care of it. Then there are moments where I am not sure who is closer to losing their s*it, Mom and Dad or the kids.

This is where the magic is taking place. Success isn’t just about sacrifices and having great days. It is about developing the ability to endure what life gives us and to do the best we can with what we have to become the best we are capable of becoming…consistently.

One of the newsletters I subscribe to is Peak Performance which is put out by Steve Magness and Brad Stulberg, co-authors of two amazing books Peak Performance and The Passion Paradox. Here is a recent excerpt that I think will help your mindset:

Comedian and actor Steve Martin once told aspiring performers, “Anyone can be great. There’s always a night when you’re on it. But what about the next night when you don’t have that hot audience and you’ve got to be just good. That’s the hard part.

We’ve all experienced this counter-intuitive phenomenon. The running race when it was effortless and painless to run at speeds far faster than normal. The time you stood on stage, whether to give a speech or play music, when everything just flowed along and came naturally. The time you sat down at your desk to write and the words poured onto the page.

These times when the world aligns and what was once difficult becomes easy are moments we hold on to. They’ve been called experiencing a “flow” or “peak” state. They are also fleeting, few and far between. Perhaps you experience this once or twice a season or every 50 or so performances. What do you do the rest of the time?

Being great is easy, being good is harder.

When it comes to performance, our focus and goals are on raising the ceiling. What’s the best performance that we can give? In running, the sport I know best, we define ourselves by our best performance in history, our personal record.

But what makes greatness isn’t one-off performances, it’s consistency. It’s raising the floor. So that night after night, when we show up on our stage – be it a real one, or our office – there’s a baseline that we can expect. We know we are going to be pretty darn good, even if the stars don’t align and we have to figure our way through the doubts, nerves, and foggy brain that happens when it doesn’t all come together naturally.

I think that right now, our ability to show up every single day for our family, our teammates, our clients, and our friends is what is going to help us grow through this and not just go through this.

Here is How

This past Monday as I wrapped up a podcast my seven-year-old Maddie walked into my office and jumped on my lap just as I was finishing up. She looked at my desk and said, “Daddy, you take a lot of notes. Why?”

I laughed because I do. I am always taking notes, no matter where I am at. Whether I am writing them down or putting them in my Note App on my iPhone.

These past few weeks I have had some amazing conversations with a good number of incredible leaders in a wide range of industries who are at different points in their journey.

The thing is, regardless of how hard their business has been hit (some have been hit beyond anything I could ever imagine) their mindsets and messages were all quite similar.

And, I took notes! 

Each person I spent time talking to could not have emphasized more that we need to take advantage of this unique opportunity. This is as close to a Black Swan event as we have seen since 9/11 and we need to find the remarkable opportunities that are presenting themselves.

  • Build deeper relationships. Vulnerability is so key here as people want to talk, they want to share, and they want to know that they are not alone. How can you help, who can you help? It is not about having all the answers, but it is about listening and allowing others to work through some things.
  • Recognize those who are invaluable. Who is stepping up during this time that may have been flying under the radar before?
  • Share information. I am not talking about collaborating with your team here, I will get to that. I mean, share information with other leaders. What are they doing that could help you and your organization? What are you doing that may help them? This is something coaches do all the time regardless of sport. Always be learning and always be sharing.
  • Balanced diet. One of the challenges many people have is what they are feeding their body as they are home all day and it is easy to snack. Just as important is WHAT YOU FEED YOUR MIND. Pay attention to what you are watching and listening to and be intentional about filling your mind with positive thoughts, creative ideas, and gratitude!
  • Be agile. It is critical to be fluid and open to change as there is new information coming out every day and some days there is new information coming out every hour.
  • Be quick but don’t be in a hurry. Develop the ability to make decisions without all the information while being certain that the decision is aligned with your values, beliefs, and mission.
  • Coach them up. The best way to learn is to teach and a lot of this is new to many of us. As leaders, it is our responsibility to help them learn this new way of working (and living for that matter) and give them the proper support and guidance while holding them accountable in what we need to accomplish in a series of short-term sprints

That last bullet was one of the many insights from a recent guest on The Athletics of Business podcast, Rob Dube. Rob is the co-founder and CEO of imageOne and author of the book, donothing: The Most Rewarding Leadership Challenge You Will Ever Take.

Rob is an expert on mindfulness and meditation and shares his journey, how meditation has helped him in his career, and how you can practice mindfulness. The podcast and book are both complete home runs. You can listen to the full episode here.

Action Items

I hope you enjoyed the content I shared and that you have several takeaways. Here is the thing…you and I know that takeaways are meaningless unless you take action.

Pick one of these questions and move on it right away. I mean, today. I do not care that it is Friday. Do not wait until Monday as you will fall victim to the Law of Diminishing Intent.

  • Who can I reach out to and share information with today?
  • Who can I reach out to and help today?
  • What can I do today to help my team (insert family, friends, neighbors, etc) that isn’t required, isn’t expected, and WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN?

Keep doing great things!


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