BEing + DOing

Intention and BEing combined with Action and DOing can be a really powerful combo. There was an organization that I had driven by many, many times over the course of 2 years - and each time I had, I had thought "I'd really like to work with this organization." Sure enough, I received a call "out of the blue" with an invitation to work with this very organization. It took me getting clear on what I wanted (and perhaps equally importantly, saying NO to what I didn't), and then taking action accordingly. I find that for me, when intention/being/action/doing are in alignment, things flow and the magic starts to happen. When the flow is missing or the magic subsides, I can typically find that part of the equation is off and that some adjustment is needed on my part.

Invitation for the next week: how's your intention/being/action/doing equation looking? Are there any adjustments needed, large or small?


Why Not Both?

It can be easy to look at things from the perspective of "or:"

"I can either do work I love, or make a lot of money."

"I can either be nice, or I can speak my mind."

"I can either please my boss, or I can do what I think is right."

"I can spend time with my family, or I can take time for me."

"I can either stay at my job, or I can quit."

Very rarely is the real answer "or." Often, it's "both," and even more often, "both" is only the beginning, as there are far more options than initially meet the eye.

The magic starts to happen when we allow ourselves to hold the perspective of both - and beyond.

Imitation Vs. Creation

Sometimes, it can seem tempting to look around at what everyone else is doing and do the same thing. To a certain degree, it works. It allows us to create something that's been field tested by others and that at least some people want. It's also what provides consumers with multiple options to select from. It's happening in every industry every day, from wearable devices to cereal.

There's another option though, and that option is creation. To stop obsessing about what everyone else is doing and to start obsessing about what our heart longs for. To stop consuming everyone else's message and start crafting our own. To stop comparing and start creating. When we use this approach, we almost always create something better - something that's born from deep within us and something that's completely our own.

If given the option, choose creation.

If You Don't Like It, Create Something Different

We have more power to change things than we often know. The world is not "out there" - it's right in front of us. We create it.

As a small example - I've heard a lot of people say something along the lines of, "Facebook is all political crap." Well - lucky for us, if that's our perception, we have total control to change it. We can follow people who talk about things other than or in addition to politics, we can modify our newsfeed to see things that inspire us, and we can create conversations and write posts about the things we want to see more of on Facebook. We can also get curious and investigate our irritation about the political posts - often times the things that trigger us are juicy opportunities for learning and self-discovery.

Sometimes it might feel easier to sit back and observe (and perhaps judge) the world "over there." But when we do this, "that world" doesn't change. We continue to experience it in the same way over and over again.

The world is right in front of us. We create it - over and over again, every minute of every day. What do you most want to create in your world?

How to Be a Better Leader, Teacher, Meet-Up Organizer, or Spin Instructor

Ever walked into a gathering, a spin class, a team meeting, a yoga class, a conference, or a workshop, only to find everyone standing around in silence, looking at each other awkwardly? 

Whether we are leading a running meet-up of 5, or a conference of 5005, there are a few simple yet powerful things we can do as organizers, teachers, leaders, and facilitators to be more effective leaders and to increase the enjoyment and the outcomes of the experience for everyone involved. 

1. Say Hello.

This sounds painfully obvious. And, I find that way too frequently, it simply doesn't happen. As an organizer of a group or the leader of a course, part of our role - whether we like it or not -  is to hold space for the participants who are in attendance. A simple "hello" or "welcome" can help to break the ice, create conversation, and make people feel safe and welcomed into the experience you're leading.

2. Introduce Yourself. 

I know, I know. This sounds almost as painfully obvious as #1. But it's often absent. If you are teaching people something, leading an experience, or even just bringing people together in service of a cause that all of you care about, introducing yourself is important. This initial level of connection matters. And it sets the foundation for everything that follows. Before we attempt to learn anything, we must first get into relationship with each other.

3. Remember that It's Not Actually About You. 

While the teacher, leader, instructor, or organizer has a large impact on the experience, the experience isn't actually about the teacher, leader, instructor or organizer. The experience is about the participants. And as leaders - of whatever we are leading - we must remember this. 

I stopped going to spin classes for a long period of time due to my annoyance with the number of spin instructors who seemed to follow the same process of: walking into the studio, hopping on the bike, blaring the music, pedaling as hard as possible while simultaneously spewing commands, and never once stopping to acknowledge (or seemingly recognize) that there was actually a room full of participants filling all of the stationary bikes in the studio.

As leaders, it's not about us. It's about the people we are with. We must remember this first. 

4. Remember (or at least try to remember) People's Names. 

I will never forget a small tragedy that occurred many years ago, when I took a team member onsite to meet one of my most beloved client teams for the first time. This was a client I had worked with for many years, a client that felt like family to me (and still does), and a client that had been a great partner to our organization in many ways. 

Despite extensive coaching and discussions with this team member before we arrived onsite, when I began introducing him to my beloved client team, he tuned out, and when I finished the introductions, he immediately replied, "I'm never going to remember your names anyway." In that moment, I knew that I would never bring him onsite to visit my client again. It wasn't that he couldn't remember people's names; rather, it was his blatant disregard for trying. 

On the flip side, I was visiting with a client a couple weeks ago, leading a presentation during their annual retreat. Over lunch, I was talking to one of their regional leaders about what it's like to work for this particular organization. He shared his experience of joining the organization, after coming from a large global bank. "There", he said, "everyone was anonymous. Here, Our CEO says hello to every single person in the hallway by name. That is why I love working here."

Much has been written over the years about the power of remembering people's names. If you struggle with memory, here are some tips on how you might improve.  And I believe that at the end of the day, it's not as much about your memory as it is about your willingness to connect in a meaningful way.

5. Connect To Your Passion.

Hopefully, if you're leading something - whether a running meet-up or a two-day leadership conference - it's because you care about it deeply. Typically, when we lead from a place of passion, we are wildly effective leaders. When we get lost in the land of logistics, performing, or over-analyzing how the experience is going, it's easy to become disconnected to that passion. 

Before leading anything, take a couple minutes to connect to your "why." Why are you doing it? What do you most love about it? And how do you want to hold and honor that "why" as you're leading the group?

As I always say, leadership happens in the moments: the moments where we say hello, the moments where we pause to introduce ourselves, the moments where we connect with the others in the room, and the moments where we allow ourselves to show up authentically in service of the stuff we care about deeply.