I know there will be hard days, but already in the first few weeks I am noticing the difference between doing part of my day in full alignment of my strengths and passions and now experiencing an even greater part of each day in that zone. I am so thankful for this opportunity. My wish for all of you is that you would be in that place of your strengths and passions taking up the majority of your day, every day.What percentage of your day do you feel you are in the zone of your strengths and...
Category Archives Life
A few weeks ago my wife Danielle and I made our way to the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota to attend a concert. The concert just happened to be two of my favorite artists of all time, Sting and Paul Simon. The concert delivered in so many ways. Both Sting and Paul Simon hit their notes, and even though there were a few technical difficulties, the concert still was amazing. We sat in the 16th row center stage and it was worth every penny we paid for those tickets. [caption id="attachment_243" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Sting and Paul Simon[/caption] If you ever get the chance to see either one of these two artists I highly recommend it. The evening started off with Sting and Paul Simon playing together and then they alternated back and forth solo sets before they came back together at the end to play together to finish the concert off in a great encore. The last song they sang was Paul Simon's, "The Boxer." The song is a haunting anthem of someone who is trying to make it in life and looks up and admires the "Boxer" who stands and fights no matter what happens to them, no matter what knocks they take. What are you willing to fight for, get hit, and keep going? I ask this as much to you as I ask myself. The show ended with this set of lyrics: In the clearing stands a boxer And a fighter by his trade And he carries the reminders Of ev'ry glove that layed him down Or cut him till he cried out In his anger and his shame "I am leaving, I am leaving" But the fighter still remains I have heard this song hundreds of times, but something about that night, the point in my life, made me tear up. I teared up a bit as I wrote this post - what am I willing to fight for no matter what? How will I be the boxer who remains a fighter after all the battles? What do I want to quit, but instead choose to stay in and fight for? What will remain? A friend of mine, Erwin McManus, says that we are simply the sum total of all our decisions throughout our lives. I agree and think of all the poor decisions I have made throughout my life but I still...Read more
A few weeks ago I started a new job doing strengths based organizational consulting with Leadership Vision Consulting. I helped found this company 14 years ago to help people, teams and organizations become more knowledgeable about their strengths and how they can leverage this knowledge in positive ways. At Leadership Vision Consulting we believe strong people can form strong teams and ultimately, strong cultures. I will have lots more to say about why I made the leap from higher education to full time consulting in another post. In this post I just wanted to reflect on the fact that making this job switch meant I had to follow my own advice. It is a lot easier to give other people advice to find out how they are wired, what they are good at, and how it might align with what they are passionate about. I cannot count the times I have given that advice to people of all ages. It is good advice! Also hear me that during my career in higher education there were many moments where I was doing what I was wired to do, and passionate about. But, when I started my first day on this new job I was overcome with joy. My co-workers were helping me get up to speed but it was hard to concentrate because I was giddy with joy about starting something new. Some of you know me and know that one of my strengths is the strength of Focus. Even with the strength of Focus I could hardly concentrate on that first day because of this joy I was feeling. Much like the picture, I was on top of a mountain and above the clouds. It was truly amazing.Read more
Have you ever fallen off a bike? Have you ever fallen off a bike while clipped in to the pedals? I have done this multiple times since buying a road bike and using clip in pedals. Most of those times happened when I was learning how to ride the road bike using clip in pedals. Did I quit trying, or did I perserver and figure it out? [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Clip In Pedals[/caption] Since I am in volleyball season I have not had much time to get on my bike and ride. Yesterday I got back on my bike to go out for a ride and was about to leave my driveway when and crashed. I was trying to clip in to my second pedal and just feel over onto the asphalt with my bike landing on top of me. In case you were wondering, it hurt. There is not much padding on the sides of our thighs and knees. Ouch! At that point I had a choice - lick my wounds and turn around and put my bike away or get on that bike again and ride. I dusted myself off, got back on the bike and road. The side of my leg hurt during some of the ride but eventually I got in a good rhythm and it was just fine. How can we do this in life? How can we fall down and get back on the bike and ride? Do we have the perseverance to do this? Yesterday I did. I hope I do today as well....Read more
I cannot remember the day, but I can remember the moment. I was a senior in college, it was sometime in the Spring of 1997 and I was trying to figure out what in the world I was going to do with a History degree and find a job that paid me to use my education. There was a tension in my head, did I try and find a legitimate job, did I travel the world? Did I go do something totally different? Did I choose to pursue my passion? In the world of very slow dial up internet connections through AOL I procured an application to be a snow reporter and marketing intern at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana. This job was 30 hours per week and you had to be up at the crack of dawn to post the ski report on the voicemail and maybe the internet for the resort. I figured this would be the perfect post college job to be able to live somewhere new, and get to ski for free at a world class resort. I was all set to apply, and then, some weird guilt set in. This weird guilt told me that I should be more responsible and find a job that would make my parents feel good about supporting my college education. This was not my parents talking, this was my own inner dialogue that was moving me in a direction. I never did follow through on applying for that snow reporter job. Every time I read the snow report at a ski resort there is a wistful feeling that comes over me and I think, what did I miss? I think I might have missed a pretty fun adventure post-college. What did I end up doing? I landscaped the summer away and then got a temporary job at Prudential insurance processing claims. Wow if that sounded exciting it wasn't! In a group of 500+ in tiny cubicles? Not a lot of fun. Fast forward 7 months later - I decided to take a risk and move out to Washington, DC as an intern for a US Senator. I jumped this time and and did not hesitate to pursue my dream of working in Washington, DC for the government. What a great excuse to live in the best city in the world for...Read more
Sometime in the past week I was in a meeting and someone talked about achieving results. The person mentioned that big change does not happen all at once, rather change and results happen over time in small increments. The older I get, the more I know that this is completely true. If you want to achieve something, it is going to take time, hard decisions, discipline and work - and, it probably wil not happen overnight. When I was a younger person, I would have listened to that person in the meeting and maybe nodded my head, but inside I would have disagreed. Change can come fast and you just need to push hard right? Wrong. You can get fast change but so often that change does not last. Let me tell you two quick stories. 1) Once upon a time there was a man who in his thirties who one day looked into the mirror and realized that he was 30 lbs overweight. Did that weigh gain happen in one day? No, it happened over a few years day by day. The slow creep of weight gain snuck up on him and it did not hit him until one day it did. So one day he decided to make a change and start tracking all his calories and seeing what he was eating on a daily basis. Over time he set a goal and started to work towards that goal, day by day, month by month. Over time the weight came off. But it took six months. There were ups and downs but in the end that man was able to stay within his target weight for over two years. Change that lasts, and results that last, happen slowly over time. 2) Once upon a time there was a young eager leader who was working with a group of students in an organization and wanted to bring about fast change. The group of students he worked with were part of an organization that was slowly declining in influence over time and were averse to change. We always have done things a certain way, was their rallying cry. They were stuck. This young eager leader implemented some change and radically changed some of what these students were used to doing on a day to day and weekly basis. Change happened amidst grumbling...Read more