Creating New Stories

I came across an article this weekend that touched on facing today’s fears, living today’s dreams, creating new stories, and understanding ourselves. The lessons that follow help to move us to those ends.

1. If you want to change the world, you have to fall in love with what already is. The same goes for changing yourself.

2. Listen to your doubts. They not only teach you of your fears but also your wisdom.

3. It’s okay to claim all is well amid doubt and confusion and to be happy despite challenges.

4. Your feelings are your choice. What manifests after may not be. Choose wisely.

5. What you say does not determine your honesty, but why you say it.

6. Never decide until you have to.

7. Take full responsibility for your life and never forget to have fun.

8. Always see work as play and play as important. Soon you won’t know the difference between the two.

9. The trick to being in the right place at the right time is knowing you already are.

10. The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living them at once, however humbly, to any degree you can.

Source: Mike Dooley

My Mission Is…

Throughout my career, I have helped many entrepreneurs fine-tune their business plans. I am also in the process of developing my own. As we all know, it is common practice for organizations to develop mission statements to provide employees a clear purpose.

If you take an honest assessment of your mission statement, does it unify, direct, and inspire employees to spend a significant part of their day fighting for your cause? As a leader, do you embody the mission?

Mission statements are more than just a public relations exercise.

Consider this one: “The Company’s primary objective is to maximize long-term stockholder value while adhering to the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates and at all times observing the highest ethical standards.”

Shouldn’t all organizations strive for this? Does this mission statement motivate people to get out of their bed, sacrifice wages at times, and help them understand their role in achieving a collective goal?

When the mission, vision, and values of the organization fail to align with an employee’s value system, conflict arises.

While organizations are adapting to the economic challenge of a lifetime, now is the time to reevaluate your mission statements with renewed relevance.

Graphic: Nonprofit Hub

Purposeful Leadership

Direction comes from what we do, but motivation comes from why we do it. Here are some ways to lead teams with purpose.

1. Explore to execute. Look inward. What inspires you to do what you do and how can you clearly articulate it?

2. Inspire to empower. Share your purpose with the company. Use it to motivate your team. Nothing drives people like passion.

3. Permeate to persevere. Infuse your purpose into every aspect of the business (internal messaging, policies, and practices), and align your team.

4. Unite to thrive. A team must work well with one another to be successful. If they believe in the same cause, they’ll better serve it.

5. Communicate to motivate. Go beyond describing the tasks you assign to explaining the meaning behind those tasks.

6. Trust to be trusted. Develop mutual respect through common beliefs and lead the company through respect, not fear.

7. Cultivate culture to curate success. Focus on achieving purposeful results, not the minutiae of strict procedures.

8. Reflect to grow. Every leader should continually reevaluate their words and actions to be as productive and purposeful as possible so that their team will follow.

9. Exemplify to enlighten. Lead by example.

Source: Forbes | Graphic: Thoughtful Leader

Trained or Transformed

There is a difference between trained leaders and leaders who are transformational. Here are five characteristics all transformational leaders possess:

1. They See Things Others Do Not See – While many leaders ask “Why?” they ask, “Why not?” because they’re always thinking about how they can create a better future.

2. They Say Things Others Do Not Say – Transformational leaders speak up. They leverage their influence by speaking bold words about a better future.

3. They Believe Things Others Do Not Believe – Adopting the belief that you can make a difference changes everything. When transformational leaders believe their cause can change things for the better, they bring conviction to their leadership

4. They Feel Things Others Do Not Feel – Passion is a leader’s energy. It creates momentum and tenacity for the challenges that all leaders face. Passion fires up leaders and the people they lead, and that fire carries them forward and helps them endure.

5. They Do Things Others Do Not Do – Transformational leaders know they exist for a reason, and they tap into that sense of purpose whenever fear arises.

Source: John C. Maxwell

The Jungle of Chaos

jungle1

Do you ever get tired of navigating the jungle of chaos? Many say they do, but their behaviors, belief systems, and actions perpetuate a chaotic environment.

Human beings have an innate desire to feel valued and often go to great lengths to be seen and heard. Whether it’s exuding power or some other attention-seeking antic, at some point, it becomes taxing on the mind and spirit.

Everything in the jungle has a relationship and purpose. Many diverse forms of life have learned to coexist to fulfill this purpose. It would behoove us to take notice of the beauty that surrounds us versus taking extreme measures to create separation and inferiority. Don’t let your discomfort ruin the experience of others.

Everyone deserves to feel safe and comfortable, requiring us to look beyond our differences and finding the same value systems that underpin the way we engage as a community.

The Journey

journey

Your travels create your life story. It’s a lifelong journey of asking questions and seeking answers, seeing things more clearly, listening more carefully, embracing change, and ultimately learning how to walk with the Creator each step of the way.

Regardless of the mistakes, disappointments, and setbacks you have encountered, where you are now is where you’re supposed to be. We are to trust and be grateful for each set of circumstances along the way.

When you focus on the blessings that emerge from your trials, you gain the strength and courage to continue moving forward. Remember to reflect on how far you have come versus how far you have to go and live out your purpose each day. Look for the Creator’s way in each moment and each decision and be grateful for the experience.

Finding Meaning

When we lack meaning in our lives, we wander around aimlessly, struggling to identify our purpose and how to use our natural gifts to make a difference in the world.

Even under the harshest of circumstances, life has meaning. When you find yourself buckling under pressure, consider the fortitude that prisoners of war, homeless families, the poverty-stricken, victims of genocide, etc., display, despite their circumstances. Even in the worst conditions imaginable, it is evident their lives have meaning.

Finding meaning is not an easy process and will require you to push past your fears. We often look to others to help us find our purpose in life, but it’s impossible to live for the same predetermined purpose as someone else. No matter the challenges we face, there’s always a lesson to be learned and the possibility of brighter days to come.

Never Give Up

People often give up after a few half-hearted efforts and conclude that a solution is not available.

Don’t forsake future rewards because of present pain.

It’s easy to throw your hands up in despair when faced with difficult situations, but pursuing anything in life that’s important to you takes faith, focus, and follow-through.

It is also tempting to give up on people or situations that haven’t changed for many years, but what seems unchangeable can occur when given new purpose and direction.

Life’s Manual

An instruction manual is provided for most things on the market today.

However, many of us never take the time to read it. We look at the illustrations or specific items of concern then set it aside.

Think about it. How many times have you driven your car and had no idea what all the buttons operated?

How many times have you put an item together that had pieces leftover and differed from the finished product on the package?

The same applies to our personal and professional lives.

Many of us want to know how our lives are going to play out, but we fail to obtain the necessary knowledge to move us into action.

Transformation in our lives requires being intentional and putting forth the effort.

If you are unable to identify your purpose and need something to help guide you along the way, there is a manual of life. Start there.

If you are not meeting your goals or desire something different, there are plenty of books available, people available, and training available to help move you forward.

It all starts with you.

Do Your Best

You don’t need a prestigious title to perform a significant role in life.

Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Much of the necessary labor for any organization may be considered grunt work by many. But such work is vital for the business to run smoothly.

Engineers and millionaires may design and finance a magnificent building, but it is the bricklayers who get the work done.

We are not all designed to be the “stars” of today. Some of us are the supporting cast. There would be no star without the supporting cast, so don’t be misled into thinking your purpose is not as important.

Death is Inevitable

Our time on Earth has a tremendous purpose, for it determines how we’ll respond to our Creator’s call. Death is an essential component of all living things, and nothing escapes it. We were born to die, and everything that happens in between these two events helps prepare us for the fulfillment of our time here.

Many people fear death because they can’t control it nor understand it. Death casts a frightening shadow over us and renders us helpless in its presence. We may be able to endure various ailments throughout our life, but no amount of strength or courage can overcome death.

Life is short, no matter how long you may live. Power, health, and wealth may make you feel as if you can live forever. But death strips every one of all external security. If your life isn’t the way you would like it to be now, don’t assume that change will come more readily at a later date. Learning how to live overcomes the fear of dying.