Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Plant a Tree

My son is out of his mind with excitement! The Lorax is coming! In preparation for this most anticipated artistic event, I have had to recall the story of Dr Seuss' epic tale. The Lorax is, in essence, a story of boy who wants to impress a girl. The songs I have loved, the movies I have cired over, and the athletic feats I have performed have mirrored this boy's ambition. On Friday, my son will join the tribe of boys who do things to impress girls.

Time has a way of wearing down our romantic sentiment. Logic trumps risk, routine becomes standard operating procedure, and our days blur together. The magic tends to fade when the chase is over. My son is sailing on an all together different ship! I look up from my lap top at him in the backyard: running in circles, frolicking among cotton candy trees in his mind, conquering the evil forest....all to impress a girl in his day dream. What a wonderment; to wake up every day full of possibility, to be impressed by everything, to be new!

We have not lost our way, dear readers, we have merely forgotten the power of our imagination. Your perspective can change without venturing to the cotton candy forest in your mind. Those we are tasked with teaching have something to teach us as well. Everyone has something to teach. May we remember the simplicity of escaping convention through original thought....and how easy it is to do that.

Fear Not The Unknown
Ominous in the distance of anyone's mind is a dark forest. It is a place fraught with risk, unknown twists and turns, and evil creatures. We are often terrified to go there for fear of getting lost or being bitten. Without knowing the forest that exists within the trees we choose to ignore the unknown. Our time could be spent performing a task on our "to do" list...and it's better to spend our time wisely.

So you wake up, perform the day's tasks.....and eventually you die having never tried anything new. Safe, secure, and bored! Every great thinker explored new frontiers. Every great athlete ignored the detractors who told them they could not compete at the highest level. Every nerd who kissed a hot chick did so by having the courage to sing her a song.

Our time here is fleeting and no one gets points for doing the safe thing! Try something new today!

Plan An Adventure
An older gentleman I know once told me he got through his career planning one personal vacation a year. Each day on this way to work he imagined himself fly fishing....and it motivated him to get through that day. Vacation time to many of us has become a thing of the past but we all need to take a break from time to time.

Where will you go? Take a week off to travel, go see an old friend, take the kids to the forest...? Whatever it may be you need the assurance of escape to keep you moving through the hard times. When you get there you owe it to yourself to enjoy it! Life is too short to be a slave to your cell phone.

Plant a Tree
Our hero in "The Lorax" lives in a land that is completely manufactured. He embraces the seemingly impossible goal of planting a tree in a plastic world. He will travel to great lengths and will brave danger to attain and plant this wonder of nature. A heroic premise with the hopeful conclusion of getting the girl!

Do you remember the last time you wanted something so badly that you would brave the deep dark forest to attain it?

It's time to start believing again. It's time to put the romance of adventure back into your life. It's time to start a journey into the unknown. You may fail, you may encounter danger, but it will be worth it when you get to kiss the girl!

Be a Hero! Plant a Tree!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, February 20, 2012

The Hill

I recently saw a documentary on Walter Payton. He is an athlete that is near and dear to my heart because I played him in the Viejo Elementary production of The Superbowl Shuffle in 1985. He was called "Sweetness" because he had a certain style, on the field and off, that came to characterize the charismatic Chicago Bears of the mid-80's. The team won the super bowl by a landslide, losing only 1 game the entire season. They dominated. It should be noted that the head bands, haircuts and flashy clothes did not contribute to the Bears success - their success was a result of one thing: Hard Work!

That year I saw an article in a magazine. It was about "The Hill", a piece of land that Walter Payton owned. While some would have used the landscape for hunting or to built a race track for the kids, Sweetness used the land as a training ground. When football practice ended, Walter went back home and ran up and down a near vertical hill on the property...over and over. He pushed his physical limitations ever forging a new frontier of conditioning...never stopping until he reached the mountain top. It was a foreign concept to many, to use your limited free time to torture yourself. The result was the aforementioned championship and personal achievements that will forever be enshrined in the pro football hall of fame. More than the results, The Hill represented the American Dream: success is there for you if you are willing to work really, really hard!

New York Knicks point guard, Jeremy Lin, has become an American Icon of late. Tim Tebow completed one of the most hyped football seasons in 2011. Neither of these young men are the most talented in their trade. They are a phenomena because they have worked hard to earn their place in the spot light. In a time of multi-million dollar contracts, endorsement deals, flashy cars and tattoos; Lin and Tebow chose to make a career of a game through hard work. They went back to The Hill!

In business, there are those who have big ideas, others are blessed with the gift of gab, and some people have a firm grasp on the art of finance. No matter who you are or what you do there is one thing that will always ensure success: Hard Work!

What does The Hill look like to you?

We all have goals to conquer. Each of us is tasked with making the impossible a reality and then doing it again next year. The Hill we face is mighty and we must start the climb!

We are six weeks into 2012. Have you started the climb?

The cleats and the headband are not enough. Here are a few tips for getting up The Hill:
1. Wake Up One Hour Earlier
2. Listen to What you Have to
3. Be Persistent

Get There First
I never believe people who say they do not have enough time to perform certain tasks. This excuse is a result of poor time management. Are you too busy or are you busy doing unnecessary work?

Holstee released their organizational manifesto in 2011. The line most prominent, "if you don't have enough time, stop watching TV". You spend time on facebook, watch stupid shows, and sit on a bar stool in an effort to decompress from the rat race - I get it! But, your time can be better spent.

When the excuse of limited time became a staple in my vocabulary, I made a wake up at 5am every day! It is hard....the air is cold, the sky is dark, and the snooze button is inviting. The adjustment took a few days but I learned to shut off the TV and go to bed earlier. I stopped spending time on the bar stool to avoid waking up with a lamp shade on my head.

Try it for one week....wake up an hour earlier!

You have to hear this
Most often in life, we are told what we want to hear. Cell phones were created to fill time on our commute calling a friend, complaining about our day, and hearing we are right for feeling disgruntled. We seek validation for our lack of effort and our friends are kind enough to lend it. The people who really love you may, from time to time, tell you not what you want to hear but what you have to hear! It stings and it cuts deep.

Only you spend every moment of every day with you. Only you know if you have done everything you could have done today. If you are to be successful you have to be honest with yourself. You have to face the tough decisions head on and do the right thing.

The Hill gets no less ominous if you stand there and look at it!

Never Give Up
My dad would often test my resolve by telling me "NO". I would walk away upset and he would say, "You're going to give up that easily?".....The thought often crossed my mind that if he was willing to give me a buck for nachos, why didn't he just hand it over. He wanted me to earn it.

In this day and age very few people will hand you anything. They need to know you are committed. Now more than ever loyalty is a result of trust. Trust has to be earned. You can have a less attractive marketing strategy and might even neglect wearing a fancy suit. If you can prove you will not let someone down; they will take a chance on you. But, you have to earn it.

If, with every challenge failed, you put your tail between your legs you won't even make it to the foot of The Hill.

Get Started >>>>
The image of Sweetness pumping his legs as he climbs The Hill remains the benchmark for hard work. We always see the Great Ones with the trophy in hand. We seldom see the failures they had to overcome to get there. The camera does not light up at practice. The media does not wake up at 5am to document the morning jog.

The Hill is in front of you and it is yours to conquer!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Happiness Priority

Last week we reviewed Tony Hsieh's model for happiness in accordance with Simon Sinek's golden circle. The premise of both ideologies is priority through intention-based decision making. In essence, that which motivates you should be connected with that which you genuinely believe in. Seems simple enough but it is consistently over-looked.

I have the pleasure of conducting a multi-part seminar on Cultivating Employee Engagement this year. Each month, I meet with a group of Human Resource Professionals in different regions of Northern California. You might be surprised how well attended these seminars have been. Nearly 50 attendees at each session on the same quest - to bring happiness into their workplace. Seems simple enough but it is consistently over-looked!

We've spoke at length in this blog over the superficiality of the holidays. No holiday is more superficial than Valentine's Day! Chocolates, flowers, a nice dinner and....LOVE! A day to remind us to tell that special someone we love them...seems simple enough.....

The core of Valentine's Day resonates with the message of Tony Hsieh and Simon Sinek. What really matters and how often do you choose to remember it...?

For far too long we have separated work from life for fear that one might corrode the other. The feeling that one cannot be happy at work or take their work home with them. Clock out and then start doing what you enjoy. That's nonsense! You should do what you love all the time! Not to say that you have to quit your job at a manufacturing company to open a surf shop but to identify the intent of your actions. Are you motivated by what you love?

A shoulder to cry upon....
I was sprinting through San Francisco's financial district last week on my way to a meeting. I saw a young lady and her friend in front of a high rise office.....she was crying. I don't know if she had trouble with work, her marriage or was simply frustrated. But it seemed nice that she had a person she could rely upon that would brave the cold air with her to help her put away her tears.

Do you have a best friend at work?

Memorable Experiences
In the locker room at the gym I heard 2 people talking for 10 minutes about absolutely nothing. They traded cordial hellos, made a few jokes, and talked in broad strokes about life's inconveniences. It was a waste of breath.

What is the content of your interactions? When you talk to people are you navigating small talk to get along to the next part of your day...or are you making an effort to change that person's day for the better. It takes a considerable amount of effort to make a meaningful contribution to every conversation you have but if this is not your intent why open your mouth?

Make an effort to produce a memorable experience for everyone with whom you interact.

The Rainbow's End
If you were genuinely honest with yourself what would you really want to achieve? Doesn't it just come down to being happy? If every task you performed, every conversation you had and every project you worked on produced HAPPINESS wouldn't your life be wonderful?

Why can't it be that way?

You have the power to interpret everything you do every day with one question in mind....why is that important to me? If it is not, give it the least amount of priority.

You cannot be happy if you choose to let the priorities of others or meaningless tasks navigate your priorities.

You can be happy if you allow YOUR genuine intent to guide your decision making process. To be engage your WHY in each decision you let LOVE be the central force of what you deem to be important....and to act accordingly.

Be Happy!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another Manifesto

Possible is merely a word in a dictionary. YOU determine your happiness by the emphasis you put upon the occurrences in your life. There will always be risk in taking chances, but the girl at the coffee shop will not go out with you if you do not ask. Regret results from lost opportunities. You will be unhappy if you turn away from new things because you are a prisoner to your comfort zone. Be critical of your life goals not of your personal ability. Listen more than you talk. Seeking validation is a formula for failure. If you do what you do because it is important to you...success is guaranteed. No one is qualified to judge the ability of another. If you find yourself being judged, ignore your accuser. Ignore those who criticize your effort. Positivity is a way of life, negativity is a reaction. You are loved! If you are trying new things, you will have to endure failure. Endure failure. Be aware that failure is a better teacher than success. Be aware that it is more important to celebrate success than to obsess over failure. Stick up for yourself! Know what makes you happy and prioritize accordingly. Put your genuine self in everything you do. Do not stray from the path of genuine fulfillment. Desperate acts result from acting out of character. You act out of character when you allow the expectations of others greater priority than your own. Think of the great achievements in your life, every day! Forget your failures. Remember the first person you kissed, a game your team won, and the band aid your Mom put on your knee. Nothing is resoundingly important. Everything has its place. No one is all-knowing. Everyone has something to teach. Exercise. Have a drink if you need one, but don't drink too much. Meet one new person every day. Smile when you walk down the street. Don't just face your fears, confront them! Take one minute of each day to remember an old friend. Contact an old friend. Tell your parents you love them. Tell your siblings you love them. Tell your children you love them....every day! Life's great certainty is that our time here is fleeting, you will wake up tomorrow and you will be 80 years old. Spend no time worrying. Spend all your time developing bigger and better ideas. Take action. Rest when you have done everything that need be done. Live every moment with enthusiasm. Find opportunity in everything. Concentrate on the good stuff. Ignore the bad stuff. You are the only person who is with You every moment of every day, become your best friend. Be You! Make today magnificent. Make Every Day Magnificent! 

Don't Forget to Remember!