Recently I have become reacquainted with a story of amazing leadership. It is the story of Sir. Ernest Shackleton – a polar explorer from the early 1900s - a story of amazing challenges met by extraordinary leadership. It reminds me that during the good times, leadership is nice to have, but during times of crisis, strong leadership is essential for survival of the organization and its employees. Here is the kicker. As in the life of Shackleton, there is usually little to no warning that we are shifting from smooth sailing to stormy seas.
I love this time of year. I am a fan of the leaves turning, the heat fading, and the grass slowing its growth. But the thing I love most about the Fall is college football. I do have a team I pull for, but if I tell you who it is, half of you will tune me out - the other half already have tuned me out when they heard me talking about sports. But not so fast. My goal with this blog is to bring sports haters and lovers together. In order to do that I invite you to join me at the stadium as we evaluate what is happening.
At the end of your career and life, you will not be defined so much by your failures or achievements, but by the opportunities to fail that you were determined to turn into successes. Those who know me will not be surprised to find that I believe we are all endowed with an innate desire not only to survive, but to thrive. You may ask, “If that is the case, why doesn’t everyone succeed?” I believe the answer is found in our response to challenges. Common sense tells us that if success was easy, we would all achieve it. The truth is, success is hard, but well worth the effort.
Of all of the traits that leaders possess, I find the least understood and cultivated is the power of their influence. As a leader, it is imperative that you be aware of how your voice resonates, your actions motivate, and your dreams instigate change that challenges others to break from the status quo and stretch their boundaries. You may not have asked for this responsibility, but it comes with the position. Embracing this can produce long term positive benefits for you and those fortunate enough to fall under your scope of influence.
For a country boy from Chatsworth. GA, that is a big word. Heck, that is a big word no matter where you are from! After spending the week at one of the largest flooring shows in the world, I can tell you that the only thing bigger than the word itself, may be the challenge of living up to its definition.
You are likely familiar with the inspirational story of Roger Bannister, the first man to break the four minute barrier for running a mile. For those who may not be as familiar, the feat was considered impossible prior to 1954, when Bannister accomplished the goal in 3:59.4. Many medical experts were confident that a runner’s body could not endure the amount of strain such a run would put on the heart. Some even publicly stated that such effort could cause the heart to explode.
Success is often elusive. Many say they want it, but few ever feel that they achieve it. To simply pursue success is often an exercise in futility. The goal is too broad to understand the effort and resources required to attain it. Though I don't have a magic pill to guarantee your success, I am an avid student of those who have risen above the norm. In this blog I want to share with you a few things that those who have raised the bar have in common:
I caution my kids all the time that the friends they surround themselves with will likely determine their path in life. I am sure I say that because my parents and others instilled that “truth’ in me. But was it truth or just the verbiage of over protective adults trying to keep me on the straight and narrow?
I was recently shocked to hear of the passing of a dear friend from my High School Class. I moved my freshman year of high school – not the easiest time to transition. Peer groups were already established, and I was the new kid in town. Mike Rampy became one of my closest friends because of our common language – Soccer. Though neither of us had played before, we poured ourselves into it in such a way that it became part of the fiber of our being. In fact, both of us went on to coach soccer, pouring our love of the sport into the next generation.
I just finished a great book called The Sender by Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay. It is based on a real life scenario where a person was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo multiple rounds of Chemo. During these 90 days of treatments, someone who identified themselves only as "The Sender", wrote a letter every day to the patient encouraging, challenging, and refocusing them. This book is full of amazing nuggets of truth that can be applied to your personal and professional life. Those nuggets I will share in a later post. In this post I simply address the question, "Why read?"