What have you learned?

what have you learned

With 2015 coming to a close and 2016 getting ready to make its presence known it is time for some reflection. Whether you have done this before or have only ever actually thought about doing it, taking some time to reflect can have a number of great benefits. There are numerous ways to reflect upon the year that was but I would like to share one way that you may find useful. It’s all about focusing on what you learned.

See, we may be able to quickly reflect about what happened in 2015 by thinking of key experiences that took place. We may simply think about them for a minute then move on to the next experience. Although this is a good start, what if you took some quality time to really ponder what you learned from those key experiences? Two very important things happen, first you document what you have learned which helps to reinforce those items and second, you now have the opportunity to set some solid goals for 2016 based on those learning’s.

Click on the image below to see a helpful tool I created. You can recreate this tool any way you want; this is just a simple example.

what have i learned

 

 

As you can see with this example, based on a Key Learning from 2015 I was able to establish a goal for 2016. It is important not to overwhelm yourself by listing tons of learnings and/or goals. You may actually go through a couple of iterations to help you narrow down and focus on those experiences that provided the greatest learnings for you. Then you can dial in on the 1 to 3 goals for 2016.

Leaders have the ability to learn from every experience. The best leaders have the ability to take those learning’s and make both themselves and those they lead better. Ironically, heroes are those that are always learning from their experiences, it makes them more effective in the future as they are in situations that require them to act and react quickly.

You are a hero and a leader. I have said it before but you don’t need a title to be a leader and most people will not be called a hero even though do heroic things. There are people around you watching what you do and what you say whether you notice it or not. You have the ability to make a positive impact every day on others. I hope you will take some time to identify what you learned in 2015 to make 2016 even better.

Here is to each of you, my heroes, to an awesome and successful 2016.

Seth

Hero boss [Converted]-01

The Stress to Impress

The Stress to Impress

 If you haven’t noticed, we live in a stressful world. No matter what your current situation might be, stress is no doubt something that influences you in some way. The world continues to try and control so much of what we do, who we are and where we go. Because of that we find ourselves trying to impress others. Maybe its your friends, family, teachers, neighbors, community, co-workers or boss.

As a leader, you cannot afford to lead with the only goal in mind of impressing. If you do, you will create unnecessary stress that can often lead to failure. I am not saying that you don’t want to impress your boss or your team but you have to understand how and why you want to impress them. The problem is that there is often a selfish type of feel that comes when one is trying to impress. Although we try hard to convince ourselves we are trying to impress the other person, at the end of the day we are really just trying to impress ourselves because we are looking for acceptance and validation.

It is important that we find ways to have others see that we are of value and that we can achieve results. This will often lead to impressing others but we need to be sure we are properly defining what our goals are. A good leader has the ability to know how to define these goals and what will happen when they achieve their goals. If your boss is impressed, what a great added benefit. If your team is impressed and it leads them to wanting to work harder to achieve their goals, nice. The key is that you are leading for the right reasons. Selfish leaders have a very short shelf life.

It is important to remember this concept of stressing to impress outside of the office as well. There is a statement I have heard many times and it goes like this, “trying to keep with the Jones’s.” The significance of this statement is saying that people often see their neighbor come home with a new boat so they go buy a boat. Then that same neighbor comes home with new snowmobiles so they go buy snowmobiles. They are not really concerned if they can afford this stuff, they are just trying to keep so they can continue to impress others. We see this phenomenon with teenagers and the pressures they endure daily at school. We see this with our family, friends almost any part of our life. What ultimately happens is that the stress of trying to impress leads to some unpleasant outcomes. I have seen this happen many times to people who I am close with. One thing I do know, it never has a happy ending.

As a leader you should not try and keep up with others just to try and impress others, including your boss. It is just too stressful to keep up and you will become very ineffective. What you need to do is be sure you continue to build your strengths and control your weaknesses, leaders that can do that are impressive in my eyes.

Learn to manage your stress to impress and you will achieve great things, inside and outside the office.

 Heroes don’t stress but often impress.

Perspiration, not Perception Leads to Inspiration

Perspiration, not Perception Leads to Inspiration

There is something energizing by listening to an inspired speaker or leader. As he or she stands at the front of the room sharing inspirational stories, presenting a new vision or providing ways to help improve our lives we listen, take notes and imagine the possibilities. We may even start to think things like “wow, they are so good”, “I wish I could inspire people like that”, “I wonder how they got to be like that”. Then as you watch that person when the lights are off and they are no longer on stage they don’t really do anything. In fact, they are not inspiring at all when it comes to their actions. It is almost as if they live two completely different worlds. When this happens, and unfortunately, it happens quite often, the impacts can not only be uninspiring, but negative and frustrating.

The truth, actions are what ultimately inspire others to action. Sure, inspiring leaders must have the ability to communicate in ways that give others chills and cause them to have a desire to do better. However, when we see our leaders taking action and doing the things they ask others to do is when true inspiration can take place. Here are ways to help ensure you are Inspiring through Perspiration not just Perception:

1. Don’t just help others set goals, help them achieve them.
2. Be sure that those you lead see you taking action, not just hear you talk about it.
3. Communicate where you need to go then roll up your sleeves and lead the way.
4. Be consistent and genuine so there is no reason to question your authenticity as an inspiring leader.

The reality is that it not only takes hard work to rise up the management and leadership ranks, it takes even more hard work when you are a manager and leader. There are have many inspiring leaders who have shown through example what it takes to achieve success. There have also been many “perceived” inspiring leaders only to come and find out that their words overshadow their actions.

Some of the best bosses I have had were the ones who could inspire through word and action. It didn’t mean that they stayed at work the longest or worked every weekend, it meant they knew what needed to be done and were humble enough to help make it happen. They would make calls, visit customers, stuff envelopes, run reports and vacuum classrooms. Through their perspiration they created inspiration and thus I had a positive perception of them.

One last thing, there is something very empowering when we are taking action. A great leader gets energized when they know what needs to be done.  An inspiring leader stays energized by actually doing the things to achieve desired outcomes. We all love the feeling of success and when we are working smart and putting in the effort necessary to achieve our goals, we feel invigorated and that is very important. It is impossible to push a boulder up a hill by simply saying it needs to be done. When you start to push, others will see your effort and put their efforts towards helping you move that boulder up the hill. Once you have reached the top, you can’t help but feel energized while at the same time feeling tired. You achieved your goal and inspired others to help along the way. I have to warn you, this type of leading is very addictive.

We can all inspire, we just need to be willing to perspire.

Go out and be a hero. Inspire through action.