Monthly Archives: July 2011

Don’t Just Do Something. Stand There!

 |  Change Leadership, Leadership

As we rush from meeting to meeting, task to task, project to project, how and when do we take the time to ask ourselves if we are doing more at the expense of “being” less? John Kotter talks of this as “false urgency.” We’ve all gotten very good at false urgency. And it’s not healthy. For us. For our teams. For our organizations. For our world. And, it’s not sustainable.

At the end of “The House at Pooh Corner” by A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin is telling Pooh that he won’t be able to do nothing anymore and will Pooh think of him when he is out in the world not doing “nothing.” Pooh promises he will and Christopher Robin promises that he will be there too (in spirit). And the story ends with the message that in that enchanted place in the Forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing.

As we are out in the world not doing nothing, we need to create time for ourselves to do nothing. It is in this sacred time of doing nothing that we find refreshment, rejuvenation, reconnection with our self and our journey, our meaning and our place. From this place we can distinguish between real and false urgency. From this place we can engage others with authenticity. From this place we can lead with real power.

Remember the old western movies when the stagecoach gets shot at and the driver drops the reins and the horses begin to run wildly! The stagecoach is headed toward the cliff and all will perish! The hero jumps onto the stagecoach, jumps down into the midst of the horses and grabs the reins to regain control and slow to stagecoach. Who’s driving your stagecoach and how fast are you going?

As we journey through life we leave a legacy with every person we encounter. What legacy are you creating? Is it time to be intentional? Is it time to regroup, refocus, and re-energize? Is it time for you to be the hero and regain control of your stagecoach?

We all want to feel as if who we are and what we are doing has meaning. How can we reconnect with our truest inner voice and rediscover our capacity to make our own meaning? How can we intentionally walk a path that moves us forward on a journey of our own making? How can we distinguish between true and false urgency, engage others with authenticity, and lead with real power. I think it starts with our making the time to sit in our enchanted place with a bear and play for a while.

Half Way There – Time to Persevere

 |  Leadership

My wife loves running. Those who know her know this is a gross understatement. I like running. Those who know me know that this is fairly accurate. I do like running. I like being able to fit into my clothes and enjoy some good food and beverage even more. So I run.

The hardest part of running for me is the mental challenge to go a little farther or a little longer than my body wants. I’ve learned something important about this from watching my wife. She is tenacious. She will not give in or give up. As someone who likes visual cues, I had a bracelet made with the word PERSEVERANCE stamped on it to wear while I run. It reminds me of my wife. It provides me with the jolt I need to override when my body says, “That’s enough for today.” It is a great reminder of why I’m out there.

We’ve just turned the corner at the midpoint of the calendar year. The first six months have been grueling for lots of folks out there. And, we’re only half way there. There’s still work to be done, challenges to be met, risks to be averted, and opportunities to be had. We need to persevere.

Perseverance is a huge differentiator. It separates winners from losers and leaders from followers. It is about mental toughness and discipline. It enables us to keep going when we’d rather not. The moment of truth for each of us is when we’re in the middle of it and we’d rather just stop. Being able to persevere sets us up to win and to lead.

When I’m out on a trail and there’s another g@%&*#n hill, I stop for a second. I breathe. I remind myself of why I’m doing this. I think about how I’m going to get up this hill and finish my run.

As we make our way from here to December 31st, we will, at many times, need to stop, breathe, remind ourselves of our highest intent, review and revise our strategies and plans, and then keep going. We will need to persevere. The alternative is unacceptable.