Let’s Start With “Why”

Time to get real. Why do you do the things you do? Take a minute to ponder that question and the responses that come to your head and heart.

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Some Why Questions

Why did you get up this morning? Why are you reading this blog? Why didn’t you say “Hi” to the person you walked by in the hall? Why did you “comment” on that one Instagram Post? Why did click the “Like” button on that Tik Tok but not that other one? Why did you leave her/him on read on Snapchat for the entire day? Why did you kiss that boy/girl? Why are talking bad about that person or group of people? Why didn’t you give your best effort today? Why did you lie to your friends about what happened last weekend?

Okay, I think you get the picture, the question why should hopefully open our eyes. Depending on how we answer the questions above and many others like it each day we may or may not like what we see. So I return to the initial question I posed, Why do you do the things you do?

In short we can respond by simply saying that’s just who I am. Not a bad place to start but it is time we go a little deeper. To do this we must ask the next obvious question which is who am I and why am I this way? The answers to these questions will be as numerous as there are people in the world but there will be one common thing, our experiences are what shape our lives.

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Sure, it is much easier for me to say that now when I have had many experiences throughout my life that have shaped me but I wish I would have realized this as a teenager. There is no doubt had I made this connection, I would have been nicer to others, more aware of those in need around me, more respectful to my parents, siblings and friends, not so caught up on who is dating who and why am I single. I would have made sure others felt included all the time. I would have ensured that no one group of students was not so influential on my own decisions. The truth is, I would have made better decisions.

I have felt very strongly that teenagers especially right now need to know that every decision they make has an impact, it will be for good or not so good. That impact will be felt by them and others either directly or indirectly. Having been closely involved with so many teens throughout my life but especially over the past 3 years I can see with all my heart that they are amazing. They have so much potential and talent. They have hearts that are caring. The problem is that many have been influenced by those who do not make the best decisions. They have allowed popularity and clout to fog their sight. For so many they would respond to the question why do I the things I do with a simple, because my friends do it.

For the parents and adults who have influence on teenagers, please let them know how much you love them, care about them and that they are amazing. Do this often.

For the teens who are reading this, you MUST take responsibility now for the decisions you make because they are influencing what you do everyday. Remember, we don’t get to pick the rewards and/or consequences of our decisions, thus we must make it a pattern in our life to make good decisions, even when others don’t.

Be a leader.

Be an example.

BE A HERO!

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What have you learned?

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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.

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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

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Own It

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the statement “Own It”? Some may quickly think of key words such as accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain and other words. Others may think of a situation that reminds them about a time they were able to “Own It”; maybe it was a presentation and they owned it ( it being, they had a killer opening, the presentation flowed, questions were answered, the audience was engaged), maybe it was the lead in a play at a school and they performed to perfection because they owned it (it being, delivering lines, facial expressions, placement on stage, support for others), maybe it was being the leader of a key project at work and goals were achieved because the leader owned it (it being, the project, goals, milestones, actions, tasks, people). The truth is, success as a leader is all about this concept of “Owning It.”

own-itWhat is important to understand is that the key to success is understanding that what changes is the “it” part of this concept. See, no matter what the situation is, when it comes to the “own,” the concept is constant and never really changes. Why? Because of those key words mentioned before; accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain. As one becomes more aware of how to own they will build their confidence which is so crucial to be successful when the time comes to “own it”.

So how does one go about becoming good at living by this concept of “owning it”? It has been my personal experience that the following items are vital in achieving success with this concept of “owning it”:

Seek Clarity: When expectations, goals, directions are clear, we give ourselves a much greater chance of achieving success. Clarity also brings with it the ability to have confidence in what one is doing and it is this confidence that unlocks the power to “own it”.

Develop a Plan: Once there is clarity, it is now possible to develop a plan. The process of a developing a plan creates the feeling of ownership which is one of the best definitions of “owning it”. When there is a feeling of ownership, there is more commitment to achieve success. It is important that this plan is detailed and covers goals, expectations, actions, tasks, milestones as well as identifies those who you might need to work with.

Execute and Evaluate: No matter how good a plan is, nothing happens until action is taken. When it comes to “owning it” a leader must lead out by executing the plan. As actions are being taken, a leader must be able to effectively evaluate whether the plan is working or not. This evaluation can only take place if there was clarity up front so that an effective plan could be developed.

There are other areas that could be addressed but my goal is to provide more of an introduction into this important leadership concept to “own it”. As one learns how to live and lead by this concept there will be greater feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and confidence. These are all feelings that we as humans crave on a regular bases so take control of the “it’s” in your life by saying to yourself, I will “own it”.

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