A Need For Harmony

There is no question that the world we live in continues to become more chaotic, negative, contentious and divided. What is interesting is that feelings run deep and emotions are controlling actions. When this happens in what I call a negative tornado the results are never good as we have seen all over the news. It is heartbreaking and sad to see such division and hate.

The real-time access we have to pretty much everything today because of technology and social media no matter how hard you try it is difficult not be exposed to all this negativity. We are seeing the media, celebrities, business leaders and individuals pointing blame at others for not saying the “right thing” when expressing regret and condemning acts of hateful groups and individuals. I will say right here that there is no place in this world for those who make it their mission to destroy the lives of others for the color of their skin, their beliefs, who they are, etc, these groups and individuals are the bottom of the bottom and will not ever win. However, the truth is, the more people try to point blame the more they are adding to the viciousness we are currently experiencing and actually helping to add fuel to the fire of those despicable groups and individuals. So what does all this have to do with leadership?

We are seeing the rise and fall of great leaders on a regular basis. Why is that? Leaders must be able to lead no matter what the situation is. There ability to quickly address problems and then create a movement to resolve the issue sets a great leader apart from others. However, when there is so much division and disdain for what is happening, even great leaders will stumble and fall short at times because of the scope or breadth of the issue. What I have experienced is that during these times, leaders need to take every opportunity to learn from their missteps and then quickly make a course direction without compromising their values or who they are. This takes incredible inner-strength and self-awareness. In short what a leader must find quickly is a way to bring some type of harmony. Harmony is defined as an “agreement; accord; harmonious relations; a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.” It will not always be a conscience but it provides the opportunity for all parties to move forward in a positive manner.

harmony

I feel this quote is perfect for what our world is experiencing right now:

“Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”  A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Can you imagine if each of us, especially are leaders, could make this quote a reality in their lives? We would quickly see a complete paradigm shift that would have incredibly positive results. When there is harmony there is an environment where healing and happiness can happen. As a leader, there are going be times where decisions are made that will have negative impacts. These impacts will be felt most when it effects the lives of others. The key is to quickly find a way to create harmony so that the culture becomes one of healing and happiness. This will ensure your success. I know because I have experienced this numerous times in my career.

Let’s commit today to increase our willingness to create more harmony in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. Let us be proactive in showing love, concern and empathy. Let us remove from our thoughts anything that would promote negativity and hate. We can all be great leaders, we don’t need a title.

Time to go be hero.

The Value of Vulnerability

vulnerability

When was the last time you were vulnerable, really vulnerable? What did you feel? What was the situation? How did you react? What did you learn?

There is incredible and life-changing power when we are willing to be vulnerable. Let me provide a couple of quick definitions to ensure there is a clear understanding of what we are talking about:

Dictionary Definitions:

  • capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
  • open to attack or damage easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally

Expanded Definitions:

  • the courage to be yourself no matter what
  • willing to take risks
  • the ability to express ones feelings openly
  • increased humility to receive feedback and criticism

Now, it is important to clarify something, many focus on being vulnerable as a sign of weakness, shame and fear. The issue is they often stop with that singular vision and thus do not allow themselves to be vulnerable. Although those are a part of what vulnerability is, the truth is it is also where we find real peace, joy, belonging and creativity.

As we learn to increase our willingness to be vulnerable we will increase our ability to reach our goals, dreams and become who we want to really become. The greatest teachers and learners are those that value the need for vulnerability. They understand that the more open and real they are with themselves, the more opportunities they have to grow and achieve success.

One of the most rewarding aspects of having at the top of your values list vulnerability is that you will pave the path to living with greater happiness. This happiness will come as you express gratitude for opening yourself up by learning to live with increased vulnerability. It will take courage, faith and a willingness to confront truth head-on. It will not be easy but the more you practice living with vulnerability, the more it becomes a part of who you are and ultimately one of your core values.

I have personally seen the power of living with increased vulnerability. It has stripped me of pride and given me new hope and faith in the future. It has allowed me to become a learner in ways I never thought possible. It has strengthened my self-confidence and helped me to be a leader. It has helped me be a better father, husband, son, brother and friend. I still have work to do in this area but it feels refreshing to know the more I increase my vulnerability, the more I can become who I want to become.

What can you do to increase the value of vulnerability in your life today?

The difference between excuse and execute

What is the difference between excuse and execute?

execute No Excuses

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There has been so much written, researched and presented about what makes a great leader. There will continue to be a focus on this important topic as great leaders will continue to be needed in all areas.

My focus for this post is one of the main concepts that I have seen and experienced when it comes to leading. There is no question that those leaders who stand out are the ones that not on achieve results but often exceed expectations. This is often a direct result of being accountable and taking action or in other words it they clearly understand the difference between excuse and execute.

To make a quick and simple comparison between these two words let’s take a look at their general definition:

Excuse is an attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify.

Execute is the carrying out or putting into effect of a plan, order, or course of action.

After reviewing these two definitions it hopefully starts to become quite obvious what makes a great leader. They are the ones that focus on execution and not excuses. They are the ones that realize that nothing happens until a plan is decided upon and action is taken. When challenges present themselves, they don’t look for a way out but rather they look for a way to overcome and press forward. This is not always easy but it is worth it to achieve success.

I have mentioned many times that leaders come in many shapes and sizes. To be a leader you do not need some corporate title but rather the ability to set an example, influence others and get positive results. This comes from eliminating excuses and focusing on execution.

I want to share an incredible example of this with the man called The Iron Cowboy aka James Lawrence. If you have not heard about him, you will. Let me share with you why.iron cowboy.JPG

James is a goal driven individual who is focused on execution while eliminating excuses, no matter how easy it might be to have legitimate reasons to quite.

The Iron Cowboy accomplished something that has never been done before; he completed 50 Ironman Triathlons in 50 consecutive days in 50 states. You read that correctly, he traveled to every state and completed an Ironman Triathlon. What is an Ironman Triathlon?

You start by swimming 2.4 miles, then you bike 112 miles and finish by running a full marathon, 26.2 miles. Not sure about you but I am tired just reading that. So he did this 50 times which means he swam a total of 120 miles, biked a total of 5,600 miles and ran 1,310 miles, not to mention the fact that he was traveling to every state. Now you can clearly see that if there was anyone who might have a legitimate reason to find excuses not to finish, it would be The Iron Cowboy. However, he was 100% focused on execution of his plan.

In speaking with James about his experience completing this monumental goal he would mention that quitting was never an option. He had set a goal and was going to accomplish it no matter what. His focus was on the overall impact that what he was doing would have on others, not necessarily himself.

Were their legitimate reasons or excuses that he could have used to stop, you decide:

  • He averaged around 4 to 5 hours of sleep a nightexcuses
  • In some of the states he had to accomplish all 3 components of the triathlon in a gym due to weather
  • He feel asleep on his bike and wrecked
  • His feet were often torn up and bloody
  • He had flat tires
  • He was stopped by the police

resultsYou can clearly see that most people would have allowed any one of these cause them to stop but James did not. He was focused on execution. He knew that what he was doing was helping to inspire others in so many different ways. I love hearing him talk about how there was almost a reciprocal motivation happening with each race. He was inspiring others to come out and not only support him but join him and as people came out, he was motivated to keep going.

I have learned so much from watching and talking with James and IJames. I have seen first hand how his ability to maintain focus on execution instead of finding excuses makes all the difference in the world. Amazing things can happen when we commit to our goals which is just one reason James is not just a great leader but what I would call a Hero Leader.

His continued focus on execution is evident as he continues to inspire others every day. He will be the first to tell you that there is no such thing as a good excuse, it is still an excuse. He will then say something to the effect of, set a goal and then do whatever it takes to achieve that goal, otherwise, execute.

If you would like to learn more about James “The Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, check out the links below.

I am honored to call him a friend and a great example of a Hero Leader.

Thanks James for being a

hero [Converted]

Links

http://www.ironcowboy.co/story/

http://www.success.com/article/the-most-enduring-man-in-the-world

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/12/28/triathlete-completes-50-straight-ironman-races.html

http://www.esquire.com/sports/a40363/the-iron-man-james-lawrence/