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It’s not about increasing our bottom performers – but empowering our top performers….

I’ve been inching through Jim Collins’ book From Good to Great over the last few months. There’s some really good stuff in it about how to get a successful company over the hump to be truly special. 

In the last chapter I read, Collins pointed out three observations that most great companies make regarding their personnel:

1. Don’t hire simply to hire. Instead, wait for the right people to hire the best.

2. When change in personnel is needed, do it – don’t wait.

3. Put the best employees on the biggest challenges

I find Collins’ book to be nothing revolutionary but instead a remarkable and motivating reminder of how to be successful. These points are no exception to that. As I grow into a stronger leader and manager, I’m reminded to focus on my bright spots to make them brighter and to empower my employees’ passion, skills, and desire to impact our business on a more profound level. Thanks Jim Collins.

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Inspiration for the week

What we celebrate, we will receive more of.

So what are you celebrating? What are you not celebrating enough? What do you want more of?

 

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I’m getting surgery on my leadership

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Image courtesy of bjc-houston.com

 

In a few weeks, I’m getting surgery on my knee. It’s nothing huge – basic arthroscopy to remove some cartilage and meniscus stuff that is causing me a lot of pain while hiking – but surgery is still surgery. I’m most fearful of being down and out for a few days afterward as my knee recovers. I don’t like to sit still and I’ll be forced to do just that. Yuck. But all this has got me thinking.

My knee has been below 100% for a few years, ever since I felt a pop doing Insanity. I’ve still been able to pull off some long hikes and  bike rides but the torn cartilage has torn more…and more… and adversely affected my physical activities. Because of not getting this taken care of earlier, I’m now limited to hikes under half of what I used to do, I’ve lost some muscle mass, and my physical stasis has shifted out of balance. 

Injuries are compounding and systemic. I’ve begun to look at the anatomy of my leadership and wonder “where are my injuries?”

The good news is that I don’t think I have any significant injuries. The better news is that I definitely do have some injuries that ought to receive some surgical attention so that I can improve in my ability. For instance, I have a tendency to think about 10 things at once – and rapidly. This is a gift – but also a curse – because it can be hard to be 100% present. Furthermore, people around me can pick up on it and I can come off insincere, distracted, or emotionally disconnected when my intentions are absolutely positive and genuine. 

So I’m operating on myself for a better future. I’m consciously slowing down and doing less to be more effective at my job and more connected with the people around me. I’m cutting away a part of my leadership anatomy that is impairing my ability to grow into a stronger leader.

What surgery are you planning?

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My Brain Is A Computer

I recently had a discussion with a friend, where we were comparing our brains to computers. Yeah, we’re nerds.

*On a computer, we type information and download content to add information to the hard drive, then process that information towards productive synthesis in order to create original content, ideas, expression, etc…

*As humans, we work similarly: We seek and observe information which is stored in our brains. From there we judge, opine, conclude, and synthesize this hard observational data into outward expression and ideas. 

What is interesting to me is this: the most expensive computers have very fast processors that can analyze data rapidly and spit out results. Sure, expensive computers also often have a lot of storage for data, but the processor is where its at. I think this is where the human workforce is headed. There are more and more resources available for finding data when we need it – there is less of a need to memorize stuff than there used to be – and the most successful people seem to be the most efficient and effective processors of this information. 

So how can we continue to shift into a personhood where we prioritize ability to process and effectively create results more than our capacity to memorize facts and hard data?

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Is this due to my efforts or in spite of them?

Yesterday i brought up the importance of becoming self aware for one’s own growth. However i didn’t really talk much about how to do this, especially when it isn’t a part of a person’s natural intuition. I want to share a question that I’ve asked frequently to help me in this regard:

“Is the performance of my team and business because of my efforts or in spite of them?”

Reflecting on that has helped me determine some growth areas. Perhaps it may also help you on your journey.

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Throw Yourself Into the Fire (But Not Literally)

I once took part in a clean up effort for local water channels. I was told that we’d be pulling out debris and litter from shallow canals to help the water flow better. When our small group of 5 arrived at the canal – armed with nothing but latex gloves, poker sticks, and hefty bags –  the methane-fart smell of the polluted waterway told us this would not be a walk in the park. However, one of the quieter people in our group that we didn’t know changed all that. He put on his knee-high rubber galoshes and kitchen gloves and jumped right into the muck. He was pulling out condoms, tennis balls, fishing line, bags, and anything else that you can imagine. Before I knew it, another group member followed him in. And then another. And another. At this point, I had to step up and join in. 

Leaders don’t talk about change – they lead it from the inside out. This opportunity might look like a conflict between a group of people you work with, a category of items that are very hard to sell and are avoided by most employees, or an intimidating change in a process that people are evading. Influential leaders ignore the intimidating or unpleasant nature of these tasks; instead they bite their lip and jump right in.

Want to be an influential leader? Put on your galoshes, jump into an undesirable scenario, and lead change from the inside out! Throw yourself into the fire!

 

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The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today

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Mark Manson recently posted an awesome article on choosing success through choosing the pain that one can endure. Check it out below.

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a care-free, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everybody wants that — it’s easy to want that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

Everyone wants that. So what’s the point?

What’s more interesting to me is what pain do you want? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives end up.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence — but not everyone is willing to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, with the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship — but not everyone is willing to go through the tough communication, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “What for?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was it all for?” If not for their lowered standards and expectations for themselves 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. You can only avoid pain for so long before it comes roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, the good feelings we all want are more or less the same. Therefore what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing to sustain.

“Nothing good in life comes easy,” we’ve been told that a hundred times before. The good things in life we accomplish are defined by where we enjoy the suffering, where we enjoy the struggle.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately love the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to love the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not. Some people are wired for that sort of pain, and those are the ones who succeed.

People want a boyfriend or girlfriend. But you don’t end up attracting amazing peoplewithout loving the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success is “What pain do you want to sustain?”

I wrote in an article last week that I’ve always loved the idea of being a surfer, yet I’ve never made consistent effort to surf regularly. Truth is: I don’t enjoy the pain that comes with paddling until my arms go numb and having water shot up my nose repeatedly. It’s not for me. The cost outweighs the benefit. And that’s fine.

On the other hand, I am willing to live out of a suitcase for months on end, to stammer around in a foreign language for hours with people who speak no English to try and buy a cell phone, to get lost in new cities over and over and over again. Because that’s the sort of pain and stress I enjoy sustaining. That’s where my passion lies, not just in the pleasures, but in the stress and pain.

There’s a lot of self development advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

That’s only partly true. Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something badly enough. They just aren’t being honest with themselves about what they actually want that bad.

If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the six pack, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

So I ask you, “How are you willing to suffer?”

Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns.

Choose how you are willing to suffer.

Because that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have the same answer.

The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

Because that answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

So what’s it going to be?

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