It’s Halftime!

There won’t be any racey ‘costume malfunction’ to talk about ’round the old water cooler on Monday morning; no half-time show, no marching band, no dazzling commercial break.

There won’t be any balls that drop or clocks that flash or hats to wear or horns to blow.

It’ll slide by quite unnoticed.

And the end of this month: Half the year. Gone already.

Remember way back when… when you thought about the year ahead? Your hopes and goals and dreams and aspirations? That new job, the fitness program, the book, the painting, the weight, the product launch, the relationship that was gonna get fixed, that trip you wanted to take? halftime-series

Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you… .

Where you ‘at?’

If you’ve been doing the work… if the game’s gone well: CONGRATULATIONS. Enjoy this half-time… Revel in the rewards of your hard-fought efforts; take in the view and celebrate your successes. (Certain achievement freaks I know aren’t very good at this… and time for rest and reflection are so critically important to the work we do.)

If, though, you’ve woken up and wondered where the time has gone, why it seems to be the same ol’ same ol’, you’re not alone…

But don’t despair: there’s still time.

Here’s the mistake most folks make though: They look at the calendar… it’s summer… vacations… kind hot in the northern hemisphere… (winter…cold in the southern… ). A lot of distractions; days off; kid activities; too humid to exercise; people tough to get a hold of; meetings, conferences difficult to convene…. way better to put that ‘thing’ I’ve been meaning to do off to September… yeah, fall is a much better time to start… Kids will be back in school. New beginning then… .
And the months will slide by… and September will come… And there will be other distractions and reasons not to begin.

The time is now.

In every moment, there is a chance to begin again.

If you haven’t started, start now. (Click HERE for our exclusive template that will help jump start you.)

Small consistent steps over time lead to magnificent results.

Live deeply into these long summer days ahead.

Don’t miss a one.

________________________________________________

This is an encore of a post first published on June 27, 2013.

The Lie

I’ve had the great privilege of spending time this past week with graduating high school seniors in anticipation of their commencements. Screenshot 2014-06-16 19.03.54

One of the things I tell them is: Don’t believe “the lie.”

This is the lie we tell; the lie that was told to me; the lie teachers and parents and well-meaning adults tell; the lie I myself have told my own children; the lie we tell ourselves; the lie that each of us must battle every day:

IF you work hard, take all the AP courses get good grades, join lots of clubs, get involved in student government, do lots of extracurricular activities, do community service, take an SAT preparation course, write a great essay, graduate at the top of your class, get into a great college, one with a great name, an expensive college, work hard, get good grades, get involved in student government, volunteer, get an internship, get two internships, graduate at the top of your class, get into graduate school or a professional program, work hard, write for a journal, publish, present, graduate with honors, get a good job (you know, one with benefits), work hard, settle down, find a partner, get married, buy a house in a nice neighborhood with a big mortgage, get a nice safe car like a Volvo or a mini-van, in fact, get two nice cars, have 2.2 children, get a place at the shore, work a lot of hours, stay really busy and productive, see a lot of clients, sell a lot of product, network a lot, volunteer, sit on a lot of boards, belong to lots of civic organizations, become the boss, the manager, the partner, the senior partner, get the corner office… then… then… finallyyou will be successful… and then…then… finally… you will be happy.

It’s an empty, hollow promise.

In groundbreaking research at Harvard, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has demonstrated convincingly that it is happiness that fuels success, not the other way around. Happiness comes first.

Many folks who have lived that lie for decades find their way to my doorstep for coaching feeling discouraged, depleted and demoralized. They have all the toys, all of the indicia of “success;” and yet, inside, they are empty and miserable. They can’t figure out why.

Because, happiness is not “out there” just beyond some “cognitive horizon” (as Achor says).

Happiness is here; it is now; it is in this moment. 

May we claim it for ourselves.

May we have the courage not to perpetuate the lie.

¿ Donde

We wandered in the fog. For days.

A storm had enveloped the lower part of the mountain right after we had landed at base camp. We had heard that the weather was “nice” up above.  So in order to push forward toward Denali’s summit without jeopardizing our supplies of food and fuel, we had decided to traverse the mighty Kahiltna Glacier despite the lack of visibility. StormyWeather

We navigated from wand to wand; and from way point to way point.

At times, I could barely see Ann on the rope 60′ in front of me.

Happily we knew exactly where we were going.

Which was a good thing.

Knowing where you want to go is essential in the mountains.

It’s essential, too, in business… and in life.

Unfortunately, all too often, we lose our direction. We lose sight of the path. We don’t know exactly where we want to end up.

Clarity is key we tell our coaching clients.

You must know your target.

You must be clear on what you want your outcome to be.

You wouldn’t likely wander over to the airport today, saunter up to the ticket counter and say, “Gimme a ticket.”

The ticket agent would look at you a bit strangely and then ask, “Where to?”

If you said, “Barcelona, Orlando or San Francisco,” the agent would likely then query, “Which one?”

Too often we make the mistake in our businesses (and our lives) of not knowing “which one.”

  • Who is your ideal client or customer?
  • What is the product or service that yields your highest return?
  • What do you want your numbers to be this year?
  • Exactly how many hours do you want to work?
  • What are your specific goals?
  • What is essential to your success and satisfaction?

A GPS will get you within 30′ of your destination.  If you go off track, it tells you so.

“Recalculating.”

Always with the destination locked in place.

But without that destination locked in place, you can wander down blind alleys, into “bad” neighborhoods; and you can get pretty far off course: Distracted by the latest in marketing, the hottest of hardware, the coolest of apps; doing advertising regardless of outcome, chasing clients regardless of worth.

Doing things that look “busy” but don’t really get you to where you really want to go.

And you’re ineffective as a leader because, seriously, who wants to follow someone who looks lost?

I love climbing is South America. The Andes are one of my favorite ranges. Unfortunately my Spanish isn’t very good.

The one word I do know is: ¿Donde

Where.

It’s a pretty important one to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Love Shiny Toys

I’m sitting on a leadership panel this week at the 2014 Connecticut Business Expo. One of the first questions we’ll consider is: “What are the greatest challenges that business leaders face today, especially as they seek to grow?” Screenshot 2014-06-02 19.09.49

There are, as you might surmise, many challenges. But one of the biggest is what I refer to as the Shiny Toy Syndrome.

Now, we all love shiny toys. I know I do. But chasing after shiny toys in the world of business can be a recipe for disaster.

Shiny toys come in many forms:

  • The latest and greatest in SEM, SEO, PPC, and LinkedIn advertising
  • The hottest in websites and social media platforms
  • The newest in marketing blitzes
  • Bigger, better, smaller, different products and what’s ‘really cutting edge’ in R & D
  • The jazziest in hardware, software, underwear (just checking in to see if you’re still with me), iPhones, Droids and tablets
  • Emerging markets, foreign markets, global markets, different markets

You see, the greatest crisis of our age is not that we don’t have enough. It’s that we have too much: too much information; too much noise; too much stimulation; too much to do.

There are simply too many things that distract us; too much that pulls at our attention; too many endless possibilities that take us away from the “main thing.” And as Stephen Covey so brilliantly said it: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Every business leader we coach or consult with feels overwhelmed by the amount of information that’s coming at him or her. It is tempting, indeed, to engage in what Jim Collins refers to as “the undisciplined pursuit of more.”

“Be so good they can’t ignore you,” Steve Martin once said.

But it’s tough to be that good when you’re constantly pulled and distracted.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on,” Steve Jobs said. “But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

In the end, business isn’t really that complicated. It’s about

  • Relationships
  • Products and services that delight and uplift
  • Communication
  • A servant’s heart
  • Integrity and care

Successful business leaders know the power of focusing on the few essential things that will lead to exponential growth. And they have the courage to walk away from all the rest. Even when the toys are shiny.