Stop and Smell the Roses – REALLY NOW!

Do you stop and smell the roses? REALLY?

Look, life is so busy, so crowded, so overwhelming that you just need to stop and stop often (even if it is for a few minutes every day) and smell the roses.

Here’s some thoughts ….

  • take the a short walk in the woods or around the block
  • notice a child laugh
  • utter a prayer
  • meditate on some great truth
  • really listen to someone
  • have a good belly laugh
  • smell a rose really
  • look around and enjoy the beauty of creation.

This video blog is my experience as my wife, Mary and I walked through the beautiful Gorky Park in Moscow during Fall, 2012.

Tell me what you do to smell the roses in your life.

Think and Grow Authentically Rich

What are you think about right now? What did you think about today? This week? Routinely?

I want you to learn to think deeply about life, your future, what you value, who is important in your life and the kind of impact you are having personally and professionally.

Take 30 minutes just to think about these things today. Take some notes. Come away with at least one insight about yourself, your life and/or your future.

Tell me what you learn.

Turn knowledge into wisdom!

It’s one thing to gain knowledge. That is exploding exponentially today. It’s another thing to gain understanding (how to apply knowledge). And, it is a huge thing to turn both of these into wisdom (skill and craftsmanship in living). Here are some of my thoughts here from Oxford University recently.

How are you doing in becoming a wise person – an artisan of living?

The Best Way to Lead your Child is to Lead Yourself!

Why can’t I get my child to obey me? Why is my child taking the wrong path? Why do I have trouble connecting with my child?

Do you ever ask yourself these things? Well, if you are normal you must! I certainly do!

And, having just walked my daughter Molly down the aisle to join her new life with Max, I have been reflecting on my parenting over the years. Was I a good father – did I provide leadership, guidance, love, support, encouragement, provision….?

I think I did some things really well (love, encouragement, support) and others I blew (too passive at times, not intentional enough, etc.). But, all in all Mary and I have two great, healthy, productive, talented children (Mary is the parent who gets most of the credit).

What I do know for sure is that any success we have had with our kids is directly related to our own personal leadership. You see you can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself. Good leadership is based on self-leadership.

So how about you – how is your personal leadership? Where are you winning and failing here?

My suggestions are…

  1. Be intentional on your personal growth. You can’t be passive here. You’re either moving forwards or backwards.
  2. Develop positive habits. As the Greek Fathers said, “first we make our habits and then they make us.” That is so true. Feed good habits and starve bad habits.
  3. Take responsibility for your life. Don’t blame other people or circumstances for your challenges. And, don’t be a victim!
  4. Don’t fake it! Be real and transparent even with you children. And, admit when you are wrong (yes…admit it). In fact, get radical and ask for areas of weakness to be pointed out by your children and spouse. Hey, I did this with my children starting with when they were young and you know what – they told me where I needed to be a better person.
  5. Lead from the inside out. Your strength is in the character that is being formed within you. Focus on the roots of character and behavior and be amazed at the fruit in your own life personally and professionally and in life of your family.
  6. Embrace core, universal principles (kindness, hard work, integrity, compassion) that you can model and then communicate these to you children whenever you have an opportunity.

Well, those are my thoughts. What are yours?

What is at the Heart of a Strong Team?

Whether at work or at home our team matters? Those around us can make or break us. And, critical to a great team is being on the same page and even more fundamentally experiencing team UNITY.

George Bernard Shaw said it this way, “in the right key you can say anything, in the wrong key nothing; the only delicate part of life is establishing the key.”

Isn’t that true? When you are unresolved conflicts with those around you can say much that is significant and you certainly aren’t performing well.

So get intentional in building team UNITY. Here is my model. It’s built on the acrostic  UNITY.

  • Uplift one another. Focus on building people up, not tearing them down.
  • Need one another. Don’t be overly dependent or independent but be interdependent. You need others and others need you.
  • Intimately relate to one another. First seek to understand and then seek to be understood. So, listen and work to empathize. Then communicate honestly and respectfully.
  • Trust one another. You need to practice believing the best. Give people some freedom to fail and don’t jump to negative conclusions! Let your first response be to assume the best.
  • Yield to one another. Practice some humility. Be the first to say “I was wrong.” Don’t always demand your way.

These 5 principles have been the paradigm I’ve sought to live out in my home, business and civic life for years. How about you? What has helped you build strong teams!!