Blog post cover art, man hiding behind desk with overlay text reading "does it scare me?"

When weighing a new opportunity for my own growth, I always ask myself one question: Does it scare me?

If the answer is yes, I act.

Expecting Growth

Recently, I received an unexpected phone call from an old friend. They wanted to run something by me and check my interest in a new project. After listening to him, I checked my calendar. I had just had a client cancel and because of that, the time he needed me for, I was suddenly free. 

Instantly, I jumped at the opportunity.

Why? Blog post cover art, man hiding behind desk with overlay text reading "does it scare me?"

Because I was afraid of what might happen if I said yes.

As a person who thrives on routine, habits, and discipline, I love knowing what is coming next. I plan my calendar religiously, oftentimes setting appointments weeks into the future. Obviously, I coach my clients to do the same.

There is power in routine. Freeing up our minds from the chaos of the day-to-day is a powerful way to get more done in less time.

At the same time, I challenge myself with new opportunities by asking one powerful question.

Does it scare me?

If the answer is yes, I force myself to try it.

If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. – Seth Godin

Life, growth, progress, abundance, goal achievement, happiness, fulfillment, all of it happen when we step outside our comfort zone.

Comfort zones bring death. They slowly destroy and erode our souls, our brains, and our bodies. By courageously stepping out into the unknown, we live a life worthy of the greatness coursing through our veins.

That next client.

The dream vacation.

Your future spouse.

A long-established business.

Fame.

Notoriety.

Fortune.

All of it happens in the space outside of your comfort zone.

So go for it.

Ask yourself: Does it scare me?

If it does, go for it. You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself, what you achieve, and the joy you find in the unknown.

Blog Post Cover Art two people mapping out a journey with a computer and paper, one person sipping coffee. Overlay text Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Recently, I was reminded about the importance of developing the process of growth and achievement.

As I was scrolling through social media, I came across the following quote:

Amateurs have goals, professionals have a process.

In the myth of new year new you, it’s popular for people to set goals. Rarely do they ever achieve those goals. Now, some are now actively warning you not to do it.

The failure to attain these goals, really to gain any motivation or traction for change, can be found in that nuance.

I’ve written before about how to write clear and compelling goals.

What makes all the difference in the world, is the process to make it stick.

Setting Goals

Here’s a quick recap on how to set good goals: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

Specific – Is it clear?

Measurable – Can it be defined?

Achievable – Is it possible?

Relevant – Do I really want it?

Timely – When does it need to be done by?

Energy – What’s the feeling I gain by achieving the desired result?

Reward – How can I remind myself it all matters?

Notice the difference between these two “goals”

I will lose weight.

OR Blog Post Cover Art two people mapping out a journey with a computer and paper, one person sipping coffee. Overlay text Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

I will lose 25 pounds by March 15. This will give me extra energy and confidence for the cruise my wife and I are taking to celebrate our anniversary over spring break. When I lose those twenty-five pounds, I will reward myself with a new swimsuit for the trip.

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Develop the process.

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

To help develop the process in any goal you want to set, here are three quick questions you can ask yourself:

1.) Who do I need to become?

Goals, growth, and progress all require change. You cannot strive to attain something and remain the same. Identify who you need (and want) to become. Create the process and choices that will help you achieve the desired growth.

2.) What should I K.I.S.S.?

In this context, K.I.S.S. is an acronym for Keep, Improve, Start, Stop.

What is working well that I should keep doing? This is about amplifying the good.

What could be working better? This is about refinement.

What do I need to start? Action is key and sometimes we don’t get it right the first time. This is about continuous motion and improvement.

What should I stop? Not everything goes as anticipated. Sometimes, we just need to let it go.

3.) How will I avoid distraction?

We’re not perfect. I’m sure you’ve logged on to social media before to make a meaningful and business-related post only to be sucked in by mindless scrolling. It happens to everyone. Learning our personal triggers (being tired, hungry, bored, etc…) and building around those moments minimizes distractions and keeps us focused.

2022 is young and fresh. It is a year full of possibilities and I hope and pray the best for you. On your journey remember one thing:

Amateurs have goals, professionals have process.

Develop the process.

sunset with hourglass in foreground and blog title overlay text that says 60 days

Happy November. We’ve got sixty days left this year to make a difference. What are your commitments?

Time Passes By

As my kids get older, time seems to be moving by more quickly. In what feels like an overnight change, we’ve left the diaper stage and are six months away from our first teenager. Even our children are starting to notice. Recently, my oldest son said, “Dad, I can’t believe it’s the end of July already. Kind of feel like summer’s over and we should start planning for Christmas.” 

Does anyone else feel like that? The passage of time marches on, whether or not we’re ready for it. More than seasons, dates, and calendars, I’m sure you also notice changes in your own life. All of a sudden you look up and realize that there are only sixty days left in this year.

2022 is knocking on the door. We all know how quickly the holiday season flies by so it will be here before you know it. What’s your plan?

60 Days

2021 only has 60 days left.

9 weeks. sunset with hourglass in foreground and blog title overlay text that says 60 days

1440 hours

86,400 minutes.

In an instant, it will all be over and you’ll be wanting to set new years goals.

Why wait?

You have 9 Monday’s left to make progress on your goals.

9 Mondays left to do something of significance.

9 Mondays left to radically shape and influence your future.

If you’re sitting around waiting for something, conisder this your wake up call.

Get after it.

Blog Post Cover Art: Two hands holding another in sympathy with blog overlay text "What's Your Kindness Quotient?"

 … The other day, I was listening to the radio, and the host began the segment by asking, “What’s your KQ?” After a few seconds of silence, she went on to explain that KQ is Kindness Quotient. Understanding, and cultivating kindness is a growing trend. I’m 100% in.

Understanding KQ

For years, in the business world, we’ve heard about terms about our IQ (Intelligence) and EQ (Emotional) resilience. We’ve examined grit. Studies have been done on leadership capacity. You can get a degree in change management.

But recently, I came across the idea of KQ (Kindness Quotient) while listening to the radio, and I’m 100% in favor of this.

… being kind is linked to being happy. In her research, Sonya Lyubomirsky, a University of California-Riverside psychologist, found that practicing acts of kindness (as well as expressing thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness ) was common among happy people. Kindness seems to have a rebound effect, creating an endless loop of positivity …

(Source) Blog Post Cover Art: Two hands holding another in sympathy with blog overlay text "What's Your Kindness Quotient?"

I’m a huge fan of gratitude and think that consciously expressing thankfulness creates and generates more to be thankful for.

Apparently, kindness works the same way.

Intentionally expressing an act of kindness to someone generates more kindness in the world.

Random Acts of Kindness

As a child, I remember the call of a well-intentioned teacher urging me to “Go RAK someone today.” That is, engage in a random act of kindness. Their belief was that if I could do that, I would feel good, someone else would benefit, and the world would be a better place.

We even kept a RAK chart so we could see who RAK’d the most people in a given week.

Maybe she was on to something …

And now more than ever, the world seems to need a little bit of kindness.

Societal unrest.

Political Turmoil

COVID Pandemic

Fear-Filled News Cycles

Natural Disasters

The world appears to be in trouble.

And while I’m not entirely sure what kindness could do to stop a hurricane, I know kindness could help solve the rest of the problems on the list … and go a long way in recovering from a hurricane.

What’s Your Kindness Quotient (KQ)

So, what’s your KQ level?

Can you tell?

I’d like to think I’m a kind person, and show generosity, compassion, grace, and positivity in the world, but do I?

How can I tell?

In coaching, we talk a lot about investing our time and energy into the right pursuits. During one activity, we look at ways to analyze our calendar and our task list to see if our values and our time are lining up.

In many ways, we can measure kindness in the same way. Can you look back on your time, and just like you scheduled time to exercise, have dinner, return emails, and attend your kid’s practice, did you schedule a time to be kind?

Did you keep it front of mind?

Do you challenge yourself to grow and expand your capabilities?

In a world focused on division, dis-unity, and discord, focus instead on being kind, generous, compassionate, and proactively positive.

So, what’s your kindness quotient?

Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

I have spent much of my life in the garden. What I have discovered in the soil holds true in my soul: the time spent pruning, watering, and nurturing is never wasted.

Life in the Garden

As a kid growing up on the plains of central Kansas, I spent much of my time in the garden. My family grew a fair amount of our own food, and it was usually one of my daily tasks to spend a certain amount of time clearing the weeds from the produce.

Strawberries.

Rhubarb.

Tomatoes.

Carrots.

Beans

Cucumbers.

Peas

Corn.

We grew a whole variety of food. However, it wouldn’t take long in the humid days of summer to see weeds grow up right along with the crops.

So for thirty minutes every day, I’d be out there making sure only the good stuff grew.

As I got older, I started to hate it more. As a teenager, there were thousands of other places I’d rather be than in the garden doing work. Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

Now, as an adult, I wish I had more time to devote to my own garden. The thirty minutes a week are far too few.

However, my time in the garden has made me realize the many ways I want to cultivate a fruitful and bountiful personal life.

Here are three takeaways from my life in the garden.

1.) Remove the bad, harmful, and damaging weeds.

I’ve already mentioned my disdain for gardening as a child. Part of it was my allergies. They were so bad growing up, my eyes would swell shut and I found it difficult to breathe. There were many days where a family member would have to escort me around the house because I couldn’t see, my eyes crusted over with goop.

If it were like that inside the house, you can imagine how bad actually having my face near the plants.

However, in those brief moments where I could concentrate and focus on getting something accomplished on a row of cucumbers, I always took satisfaction in seeing progress.

Weeding gave two primary benefits: clear signs of work done, and better yields.

In our own lives as leaders, we see the same benefit. When we weed out the poor, distracting, bad, harmful, and damaging ‘weeds’ of our lives, we see clear progress and get better yields.

Our souls are full of many bad weeds.

Pride.

Arrogance

Destructive relationships.

Bad habits.

False mental beliefs.

Spending time in coaching, counseling, mentorship, business alliances, and other thought-provoking and challenging ideas weeds out these self-perceived limits and gives the good, nurturing fruit of leadership space to grow.

2.) Prune and nurture the good.

As you clear out the weeds, you give the good fruit space to grow. At the same time, this good stuff needs to be pruned, fed, and watered. Carefully cutting off areas of less productivity and overgrowth gives the main plant more time to thrive.

In the garden, watering and fertilizing your plants also leads to bigger yields.

For the garden of your soul, the same beneficial steps need to be taken.

Limit the amount of ‘good’ in your life to pursue the ‘great.’

Take control of your calendar to get more of the right things done (and not just more things).

Limit (and eliminate) time with people who drain you, your time, and your resources.

Spend time with people who bring your more life, vitality, abundance, and joy.

3.) Cultivate beneficial species together.

A lesson I learned early from my life in the garden is the power of beneficial and antagonistic plants. In my raised beds, I made the mistake of planting tomatoes and cabbage too close together.

While it seems like no big deal, in terms of plant production, it was a very big deal.

My main tomato plants, living next to beneficial plants, grew and thrived. I was harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers on a regular basis.

The tomatoes that were planted near the cabbage resulted in both plant species struggling. The cabbage never had more than a few leaves, and the tomatoes stopped growing after a foot and never produced fruit.

Thankfully, I was able to transplant the cabbage, and now both are thriving (well away from each other).

Plants need the right environment to survive. This includes their relationships with other plants.

In our own lives, we have the same problems. When we are too near negative thinking, small-mindedness, hypocrisy, anger, judgment, fear, and limiting beliefs, we start to adapt to the same. Just like in my garden, there is a general failure to thrive when we are in the wrong environments.

Removing that negativity from your life and exposing yourself to like-minded people and beneficial thoughts results in more of the same.

Expose yourself to positive and be positive.

What about you? How have you seen one of your hobbies benefit you in your professional life?