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The greatest thing we can do every single day is to make an intentional investment into those around us.

The recent world pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) reminds us of the fragility of financial investments.

Will the stock market recovery? Absolutely. Eventually.

But this also reminds us of the need to invest in relationships.

One thing that pays immediate dividends and lasts forever is investing in people. Finding, developing, resourcing, and equipping future leaders around us is always worth the investment. 

Growth Happens Here

When I work businesses, especially entrepreneurs or solopreneurs, this becomes an emphasis of our coaching time. Stock and Computer overlay with text "Intentional Investment"

In the beginning, all work is done by the owner. As anyone who has started a business. In addition to being the owner, they were also the sales team, marketing department, human resource contact, janitor, and security guard.

The business grows, and it comes time to hire a new employee.

This can be scary. Someone who is used to doing it all can be hesitant to give something up. The fear is that the new person won’t do it as well.

Hint: That’s probably true.

But that doesn’t mean we avoid hiring. Instead, it means we get intentional about hiring. We look for people willing to be invested in.

Instead of capping growth at the original owner/banker/marketer/sales/do-it-all-yourself we find ways to offload burdensome tasks to someone else.

The owner focuses on the core activities of the business, the things that only he or she can do to help the business grow. We create a hiring profile based on those other tasks. The ones that are important, maybe even vital to the organization, but something that can be done by someone else.

In the coaching process, we work through four quadrants and have the owner visualize where the growth needs to happen.

The last step is always people investing. That’s where we see the greatest return on investment.

Intentional Investment

What does intentional investment look like? It can take many forms:

  • An encouraging word or letter of thanks
  • Educational support
  • Mentoring/Coaching
  • Professional Development seminars
  • Sharing hard-won battles or industry secrets

In sum, Intentional investing happens anytime we are purposeful about shortening the learning curve between where someone is at and personal mastery.

Previously, we have looked at what it means to choose people over projects.

This goes one step beyond that.

More than just the relationship, we care about the growth of the person.

Ready to invest in someone else? Here are three ways to seek out relationships for intentional investment.

3 Ways to Cultivate a Life of Intentional Investment

1.) Intentionally Create Calendar Space

Personally, I’ve stopped using the phrase, “I don’t have time.” I’ve discovered that I’m always willing to make time for things in my life that really matter. If you want to find the time, you never will. Ultimately, that’s because you don’t value it enough. Create calendar time to intentionally cultivate relationships.

2.) Find a bit of yourself in the other person.

In many ways, the coaching field is full of coaches who utilize their time to help others that are like them. I know this is true of me personally and several of my other coaching friends. We coach what we have come out of, or where we see ourselves going.

Mentoring. Connecting. Investing in others all look like this as well. Find someone who reminds you of you at a younger age and guide them towards maturity. What are the things you wish you’d know at that age? That’s the perfect place to start.

3.) Create a compounding vision of success

Albert Einstein is attributed with saying that compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. However true this is, I believe our ability to invest in others is even more powerful. In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, people have been hoarding items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. There are even videos online of fistfights erupting over these items.

One thing we never want to hoard is information, transformation, or success. I firmly believe there is enough for everyone. In a world that says, “There’s only enough for one of us if you have it then I can’t.” I choose to fight against that.

There is enough happiness, joy, success, wealth, insight, talent, and ability for us all to succeed.

Instead of seeking out compounding interest, seek out compounding wins of success and personal investment in others. Their gratitude, your joy, and the world’s need for positivity will all thank you.

Justin’s note: During this trying time of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic I am doing my part to give back.

1.) If you want a free downloadable of 50 ways to practice self-care click this link.

2.) If you have been impacted by the COVID0-19 virus as an employee or business owner, I’m giving away free coaching. Go here to apply.

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We’re one day into the new year.

Be honest: how are those resolutions going?

I had a conversation with someone yesterday who was committed to being healthy in the new year but was already leery of how close Valentine’s Day was.

On new years day, they were worried about how a holiday 45 days in the future, was going to effect today.

Less than one day.

That’s exactly how long it took to waiver on their commitment.

Don’t Be A Statistic

According to some research, upwards of80 percent of us will fail at our new year resolutions by February. Our commitments to eat better, sleep more, focus on the right things, exercise, and spend more time with loved ones are often token words.

We know the right answer, but we fail to experience the transformation we long for.

Why?

First, there is a lack of clarity. “Losing weight” is pretty vague. Instead, plan on losing “ten pounds by March 1.” It’s clear, definable, and action-oriented.Woman doing Yoga in sunset with blog title superimposed

Second, it’s an arbitrary date. While January 1 looks nice, it’s no more an effective date July 7 or September 10. In fact, based on the (usually) poor weather conditions and limited sunlight, it may actually be a worse time to start your goals.

Third, those committed to self-improvement do it as soon as they discover a weakness. In my work with high-performers, I can always tell the level of seriousness in a potential client by how they treat their self-improvement. Those who are ready usually take little to no prompting from me. We’ll talk about a subject, figure out an action plan, and they are off and running. In contrast, those that take a while to decide, need to spend some time “thinking about it” or “will get back to me” never actually make real change. They like the idea of change, they know they should change, but they rarely (if ever) do.

Think Different

In August of 1997, Steve Jobs urged us to “Think Different.” 

It worked for Apple. It works for us too.

If you want to be someone that breaks the trend of failed new years resolutions, here are my top three tips to “Think Different” and experience success.

1.) Set clear, definable goals.

2.) Do one thing every day to get better.

3.) Get clear on your why, not just your what.

While it may have taken my friend one day to falter, that doesn’t have to be the case with you. 

Be the exception.

Be different.

Think different.

Do different.

Experience Success.

 

Blog Post Title: Leadership Health and Integrity Part 2

I learned the necessity of emotional intelligence like a child learning to walk. There was lots of hand-holding, many more tremendous crashes (often public),  and more than a few bumps and bruises. 

The Leader’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is like playing the piano. The greater the range, the greater the player.

As a pianist, my musical accomplishment is limited to chopsticks. On a good day, I might be able to find middle C.

For my wife, after some tinkering, she can learn to play fairly complex songs. She can tune her guitar, sing along as she plays, and is good enough to teach our children.

A world-class pianist can play amazing complex songs. The piano seems to come alive in their hands. Every technique is mastered. Each hammering of the kBlog Post Title: Leadership Health and Integrity Part 2eys is intentional. Everything ringing with a divine sound. 

Emotional Intelligence works the same way. Emotionally immature people have a very limited range of keys to play from. Usually, they are the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. A situation arises, and their keystrokes are limited. Everything triggers them to respond in simplistic ways. 

I knew a man like this once. Though physically mature, the emotional range was limited. Within a split-second, he could go from happiness to anger. Worse than that (as someone who claimed to be a leader), there was little desire to change.

“I’m just this way. I’ve always been this way, I’ll always be this way. “

This limiting belief and limited emotional capacity will limit his leadership capacity.

Expanding The Emotional Range

Expanding emotional range happens with practice. Like each new key on the keyboard that a pianist can play, emotional range equips the leader for more situations.

Think of a strong emotion like anger. Those with limited emotional capacity experience lots of anger. The lack of self-awareness leads to them repeatedly pounding the same key over and over again.

They get cut off in traffic and are angry.

The restaurant takes too long to cook their food and they are angry.

Their child leaves their shoes in the middle of the floor and they are angry.

They are passed over for a promotion and are angry.

Their favorite team loses in the championship game and they are angry.

Bothered by the amount of trash in the local park, they are angry.

Like a new piano player, they keep hitting the same note. Always angry, always looking for a reason to explode, always at the ready to let everyone know how they feel.

In contrast to this, there are ranges of anger: annoyance, frustration, furious, exasperated, and bitter are a few examples. Each is a different key to more adequately express the current emotion.

Do your child’s shoes in the middle of the floor really make you angry or are you annoyed because you tripped over them?

Does the missed promotion make you exasperated because you worked hard and thought you earned it?

The more keys that are available to us as leaders, the better we can navigate the situations around us.

Continual Growth

The thing about leadership is that it is never a finished journey. New experiences and new insights lead to new emotional experiences.

This means new words.

New emotional keys we get to play.

And our viewpoint determines our destination.

Are these obstacles, or opportunities?

Join us next week as we continue our look at the seven areas of leadership health.

 

Looking to grow your Emotional Intelligence? Take the Test.

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The Culture Challenge

Leaders set the standard. Recently, I read an article (excerpt below) that reminded me about the vital importance of leadership culture. This week, we’re talking about the culture challenge faced in leadership, and ways to overcome and transform poor culture.

“The culture inside the Nebraska locker room isn’t OK.

Scott Frost made that apparent during the bye week, when on his radio show he said there was a “portion” of the team not ready to play at Minnesota, where the Gophers blew out the Huskers.

He went all in and called out his team Saturday, saying his team is ‘just OK’ and that he’s not ‘going to be happy with just OK.'” (source)

As a fan of all things Nebraska, this has been a particularly painful football season. While most of the last twenty years has been a disappointment for one of college football’s most storied and proud programs, this one hurts deeply.

Why?

The expectations were different. The season was supposed to be different. The outcome was supposed to be different.

Year two of a coach’s tenure is supposed to see improvement. Year two of Scott Frost’s tenure at Nebraska, his alma mater, was supposed to be glorious.

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The Culture Challenge

Instead, eight games into the season, analysts are reporting how the culture is, ‘just okay.’

Just Okay Is Not Okay

When talking about culture, on the field or in a company, just okay is not okay. Fighting okay is a big part of the culture challenge faced by leaders.

Leaders set the standard of conduct. They set behavior expectations, acceptable methods of social interaction, as well as the vision and direction of an organization. When someone, or a group of someones, fails to live up to those standards, it is up to the leadership to change the culture.

There are, of course, many ways to do this. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to unpack the importance of culture in leadership. We’ll examine how to create a new culture if you’re in a startup, and how to change a bad culture.

For now, here are three principles to use no matter what your current circumstance is.

1.) Set a Clear and Compelling Vision

Like a masterpiece painting, a healthy culture is a product of vision and hard work. Longing for a great culture and actually having one are two different things. 

As a leader, spend time intentionally investing in the culture and direction of your company, team, and surrounding people.

What does the workday “feel like?

How do people act?

What’s the end goal?

How does your department handle promotions? Confrontations? Missed sales goals or development targets?

If you can’t articulate your culture clearly and simply, it needs more work. Worse yet, if it doesn’t inspire others to be better, it will ultimately bring harm.

The goal is to articulate the what and why of the organization in a way that shapes, inspires, and transforms.

2.) Inspire Others to Greatness

Once the vision is clear and compelling it should inspire those that hear it. It should be a place where people outside of the organization say, “I want to work for them.

Inside the organization, there should be tangible feelings of joy, clarity, and a desire for growth. This doesn’t mean that people necessarily want to work longer hours, but it means that they want to work harder in the hours they do work. Why? Because their work has meaning and purpose. They know that they are contributing to something greater, something beyond themselves.

The goal is to call forth the highest level of character achievement and belonging.

3.) Take Immediate Action

Violations of the culture will happen. Eventually, someone will know that a tardy might go unnoticed and regularly start showing up late. Part of a healthy culture is dealing with problems that arise quickly, fairly, and with the goal of restoration. Discipline happens to correct behavior and hold the standard high, not to deliver punishment.

Tardiness is corrected not by docking pay, but by showing them what is missed or at stake when they fail to show up on time. Poor attitude with customers doesn’t mean demotion, it means providing better training to help them deal with the stress of other people’s bad attitudes. 

The goal is to restore the person to their own personal standard of morals, to the team, and to the vision and culture set in the company.

Transforming Culture

The challenge presented to Scott Frost is daunting. Not only does he have to instill his good culture, but he also has to overcome the bad culture he inherited. On top of that, he has to rewrite twenty years of poor standards.

For many of us, we face similar situations. Family histories, company profits, and personal standards all confront us on a daily basis. Some we inherit, others we create. All need to be transformed and redeemed.

Creating a compelling, inspiring, and consistent culture is not easy. But it is worth it.

Overwhelmed and Underperforming

Two years ago, if I could describe my life in two words, it was overwhelmed and underperforming.

Have you ever felt that way?

I was close to finishing my doctoral thesis.

My (part-time) job was steadily growing in hours and responsibility, leaving the time commitment much closer to full-time.

My kids were getting older and starting new activities.

Both my coaching and personal training businesses were growing.

My workdays started at 4 am and often ended after 7 pm, leaving little time for self-improvement, relaxation, or hobbies.

I knew something had to change.

A New Direction

I’ve followed Michael Hyatt and his brand since 2012. Each iteration and direction has helped me refine my own path. But it was at this point two years ago I decided to try his Full Focus Planner.

In all honesty, this has been the single biggest game-changer for me. I get more done, in less time. I also have greater clarity, passion, and discipline.

In fact, I love it so much, I made a YouTube series on how I’ve been using it.

But, if you’re looking for a quick recipe guide to success on how to increase your productivity, maximize your time, and gain progress on your goals, I’m here to help.

3 Steps To Lessen Overwhelm and Increase Performance.

The following three things have allowed me to go from “overwhelmed and underperforming” to “thriving and successful” in a rapid amount of time.

1.) Create Clarity on Your Goals.

 I’ve written before on the importance of goals. This takes it one step further. Not all goals are created equally. Not all are of equal importance. 

I have a goal to both grow my business and be present for my family. When those goals are in conflict with each other, I choose the family time.

Goal clarity is about being clear on your top priorities.

But it’s also about being able to define your goals. 

This last week, I spent half a day creating a clarity document on metrics for my business outside of financial goals. I now have requirements for how many people I want to read the blog, share it, and leave a comment.

But this is also true for every social media account that I have.

Speaking of which, you reading this gets me one step closer to my goal and I rrrreeeaaaaallllly appreciate it. Could you help me get one step closer and share it somewhere?

2.) Simplify Your To-Do List.

Not all goals are created equal.

But neither are tasks on the to-do list. 

The problem when you just write to-do’s down on a sheet of paper is that they all look equal. In reality, there are only a few things you can do each day that would substantially advance your career, personal life, business, or relationships.

Focus on those.

Personally, I choose three tasks a day and design my day around those. While I may need to “check off” ten or more times in a day, I only focus on the three most important.

Think of it this way. What will advance your business (career, start-up, relationship, fill-in-the-blank) more: Sending the Invoice for payment due or organizing your closet (desk, backpack, car, etc…)?

Are both important? Yes.

Do both tasks need to be done? Yes

But which one will set you back or cause greater levels of stress if not done? Chances are, it’s the invoice. Because without the money from that job you might have to sell those clothes, that backpack, or the car.

Focus First on what matters most.

I find that scheduling my big three works well. I have the first task completed by 11 am, the second by 2 pm, and the third by 5 pm. This gives me time to focus on each one, and still get to those smaller items.

3.) Delegate and Delete.

As a chronic workaholic and typical Enneagram Type 3, I love long task lists. It makes me feel accomplished. If I don’t get twenty things checked off in a day, I feel like I wasted my time.

But recently, I’ve also discovered the joy in two amazingly powerful words: delegate and delete. 

Here’s how I choose to do something myself, delegate it out or delete it from my list.

1.) Am I the only one capable of doing this? OR Am I the most qualified? If yes, I do it.

If the above answer is no:

2.) If this doesn’t get done, will someone miss it or will my business fail in some way? If Yes, delegate it to get it done. If no, delete it.

In these two simple questions, I am now free to focus on what matters most to my goals and still get an amazing amount of stuff done.

What sorts of questions would you ask of someone struggling being overwhelmed and underperforming?

Have any tips?

Leave a comment below!