Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What makes a leader great?

Great leaders don’t set out to be leaders or consumed with having a following but instead are people that truly care about others. Their passion is to make a real difference in the world around them. The difficulty today is that we confuse celebs, sport icons and political grandstanders with being leaders. They might have a following but that seldom equates to someone that is willing to sacrifice himself or herself for the sake of the average person.

I know that too often the leadership paradigm that’s lifted up as being genuine involves too much focus on the individual instead of the impact they have made through their partnerships in the greater community. Leadership should be all about investing in both young and old! It should be about seeing others grow and attain their goals instead of being driven by what credit you get for your accomplishments.

Usually transparency and vulnerability are viewed as weaknesses in the high-powered leadership circles of today. Yet, I believe the true sign of a leader that will bring impact to the world of your average and normal person is humility. It’s the person who is willing to take more of the blame and is more interested in helping instead of being right at the expense of others.  I know as a parent it’s too easy to be right, win a personal battle but lose a relationship with your spouse, son or daughter.

What is going to change the world around us isn’t the person upfront who is the gifted speaker but the average person who chooses to do the ordinary in an extraordinary fashion! You don’t have to give a TED talk or have your own YouTube following to see the world around you change and improve. Think back to the person that let you pull into busy traffic, the person that held the door open for you with your hands full or the neighbor that gladly picked up some of the trash that was blowing in the wind that landed in your front yard.

Real leaders don’t care about being great or receiving credit but are more passionate in seeing their family, friends and potential new friends have a better day and the best life possible!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Patience is more than just putting up!

I always chuckle when someone goes out of their way to tell me how patient I must be when it comes to hanging out with a bunch of kids and teens that come out of the hood – barrio. I confess to being a type A guy that is learning to relate to kids and adults that have a tough time sitting still and focusing. I usually smile back and say yeap they’re my family I don’t really have a choice or I really mean I choose to be patient with a purpose! I admit that being someone who too often is a clock-watcher it’s difficult to hang around family or friends that are always late. This is definitely where my patience is tested and I’m forced to step back, take a deep breath and realize the worst thing that could happen is that I’m 15 minutes later than planned. So what’s the big deal? Why have a melt down? Why pick a fight?

What’s more important building and feeding a relationship or beating someone up for a few minutes? I confess that if I’m meeting with someone I will wait at least 15 minutes before I do a polite text to see if they are still coming. If it’s someone I really want to see then I might wait 30 minutes before I leave and then wait to see whether they eventually text or e-mail me about what happened. Ultimately my choice to wait, be patient has everything to do with building a positive relationship with that potential friend, family member, business associate or church bud.

The opportunity is to help others by your choice to be patient with a purpose and just not be putting up with someone to act as if you are better then them because you are a clock watcher or have more experience in life. Time is totally a cultural ‘thing’ where coming to a party or family gathering early might be disappointing when you leave after an hour to discover that the family showed up a couple hours after you left. Patience, persistence and perseverance help me to reconsider how I value life, relationships, goals and my ultimate purpose in life. So is it really worth it to tear into my better half because she’s 10 minutes late? Little did I know the last time I felt a little up tight because of arriving at a family event that my wife had a tough day and I unfortunately was clueless because of my own navel gazing!

I totally agree that having a good attitude is going to impact my day and the day of those around me. Yet, unless I choose to talk about the why of being patient, persistent and the ability to persevere then there will be a tension in my relationships with people who have a different value or mindset when it comes to ‘cutting some slack’ for those who don’t fit into my skill set or goal grid. The real goal in being patient is to see myself grow in my life skills and see those especially that I love grow in their ability to discover their life passion and purpose. The flipside is that being impatient mostly pushes those I love away from me and creates a scenario where it would seem that I value my time or activities over a spouse, a son, grandparent or neighbor.

Imagine for a minute what it would have been like when your dad or mom was teaching you how to drive if the expectation was that you would past your driving test after only practicing for an hour. I know that most come unglued when asked to parallel park or actually drive on the freeway. So the ultimate goal is more about being a helper that cares about the success of the other person more than your iCalendar!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What prepares you the most for living? Winning or losing?

Is winning really everything in life? What happens to the majority of society that doesn’t win? Last night my local Baseball Team bombed their opening game. What’s difficult is that the management just spent 200 million dollars on this young pitcher who is suppose to be a WINNER. Yet, the reality is that this is just one game out of over 160 games that make the season. The question still looms whether this Zack Grienke’s thud for the opener is the kiss of death or a learning opportunity?

The final game in March Madness saw the last 4.7 seconds make the ultimate difference between the number #1 team and the 2nd best team.  The Nova play by Villanova saw Jenkins plant himself behind the 3 point line and hit the big one for his time to go BANG and see the national championship become REAL! Does this equate into all the Villanova team ending up in the NBA and becoming millionaires?

One of my childhood heroes was Andy Griffith who had such simple wisdom and insight as the sheriff of this small town called Mayberry.  I can picture little Opie listening to his dad as he shares his life philosophy about winning and losing; “It don’t take courage to be a winner. It does take courage to be a good loser. Now, you wanna be a good loser, you’ll be proud of your friends that did win, and you’ll congratulate ‘em for it!” What a profound statement! Clearly it took a lot of practice over the year for the teams that made it to the final four to have the opportunity to be number #1. Much like this Zack Grienke must have done something to warrant the D-Backs to give him everything with the hope of having a winning season.

I truly believe that becoming a gracious loser who is able to see the bigger picture is one of the most important life lessons to keep learning! I’m around too many that make winning so important that when their son loses, regardless of being 5 or 15, that the dad spends more time berating his son then loving him whether he has the best game or worst game. Life is a series of ups, downs, zigs and zags. Life should be an adventure where the outcome at times is decided in the last 4.7 seconds and clearly both teams deserved to be at the playoffs but the reality is that all the players ultimately are winners!

My mom would always remind me that it was my response to winning and losing that made me either a winner or loser. I’ll never forget a Little League playoff game in Montana where I was the pitcher and got my time into a huge hole. (I must have been 12 years old.) We were behind I think by 5 runs. Over the next 2 innings their pitcher imploded and my team was able to hit 5 home runs and win the game. Did this game make or break the future of these pre-teens? Clearly not and my only memory was that I was a lousy pitcher under pressure but I did help win the game with 3 home runs!

As I watch my grandson being raised in a world where sports can be more important that life itself I want to be better at modeling that what’s more important is how you treat the person who lost. So losing I believe will prepare you for real life where babies cry too much, people get fired for the wrong reasons and sadly at times people die from cancer. Losing shouldn’t push you to win at any cost but to see the opportunity to love those that shouldn’t be playing baseball or soccer but are doing it for their dad or mom J