Blog Post Cover with text overlay: "What Your Story?"

Over the weekend, my eight-year-old wrote a story. It centers on Kaid and Bob and their experience in a typhoon. Like any good story, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There’s conflict, dialogue, character progression, a climax, and resolution. In ten pages, all handwritten and illustrated, he took the reader on a pretty spectacular journey. 

He was so dedicated to it, he spent almost all day Sunday putting the finishing touches on it. After he read it to me, you could see the pride beaming from his face. He felt accomplished. He knew he had done something hard, and seen the positive results from it.

More than that, it was actually a really well-written story. He’s clearly got a good grasp of what makes a story compelling and has started the long process of mastering it ahead of him.

I’m extraordinarily proud of him.

It also reminded of something we often forget ourselves.

What’s Your Story?

You are in the midst of a story.

Blog Post Cover with text overlay: "What Your Story?"

Right here.

Right now.

You are telling the world something about you.

2020 has been hard. Devastating for many. A huge setback at best and the fear of final failure at worse.

But your story isn’t over yet.

You get to author the end.

It can feel daunting. I get it.

I know you feel overwhelmed. Totally understandable.

I know you wonder about your business, your relationships, your family. That’s what great leaders do.

But I also know …. you got this.

Reframing The Possibilities

Recently, I had several conversations with individuals exploring coaching before the end of the year. 

One, a young twenty-something female was worried about her kids. The other, a late-career professional staring at the end of his working career both began the same way: “Justin, 2020 really messed me up.”

One had their whole career in front of them. The other only had a few years left before retirement. Both were worried that 2020 proved to be the end.

It’s helpful in these moments to remember that you own the rights to your story. You are the star. In the main drama that unfolds over your life, you are the lead actor, executive producer, and director. You have an incredible amount of power to dictate where your life goes.

I hope you find that liberating. Far from being over, your story is only just beginning. 2020 is not the end, it is a new beginning.

In my son’s story, the friends were displaced from their homes by a natural disaster. By the end of the book, they were off trying to find a new place to live.

Your story may be similar. Your life, your business, your family, your income, your routine has been displaced. You are working from home where you balance kids, a spouse, work, Zoom, a distanced social life, walking the dog, chores, and some quality downtime. 

That’s why I firmly believe that now is the best time for you to seize this opportunity and do something great.

Do Something Great

So what’s your story going to be?

There are 13 weeks left in 2020.

87 days.

2,100 hours.

126,209 minutes.

7,572,500 seconds.

Each one of those is precious.

Embedded within each is the chance to reclaim your life. You now have the opportunity to seize this moment, do something great, and transform your life.

Your day is over.

This month has just begun.

Your story hasn’t ended.

The plot may have shifted, but greatness is still in front of you.

Rise up, warrior, and seize this day. Reclaim your story. Rewrite your legacy.

Do something great.

 

To celebrate the release of my new book, I’m giving away copies for a limited time. To receive your free copy, plus my free 5 day course on productivity, click this link.

Gettysburg Address

There are tales of a young Lincoln staying awake at night, sitting in his parent’s parlor, listening to adult’s converse. He would stay up past his bedtime listening intently to every word. At the end of the evening, he would go to his bedroom and replay the conversation in his head. Through his own admission, he would pace back and forth until he understood every word and perspective that was shared. Only then was he able to relax enough to go to sleep.

Dedicated To Mastery

This commitment to mastery shaped the success that Lincoln would experience throughout life. It gave him his great oratory skills. During the Gettysburg address, he captivated the crowd and it is largely regarded as one of the greatest speeches of all time.

Edward Everett, after the Gettysburg battle, remarked,

“I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

Everett’s assessment is no exaggeration. He was a fellow speaker that day. He spoke right before Lincoln, for two hours, and yet I’m guessing you’ve never heard his speech. Instead, it was Lincoln’s two-minute address that became famous. His commitment to mastery gave him the oratory skills needed when the occasion arose. Abraham Lincoln Statue

Similarly, at the beginning of the war, Lincoln had zero understanding of military strategy and his chief officers let him know it. Lincoln, always dedicated to mastery, however, stayed up late studying every night. Reading books, pouring over history, evolving his own understanding, it wasn’t long before he had developed a plan and wanted to implement it. General McClellan laughed at it and dismissed it. Eventually, McClellan was replaced by Grant and put into effect. It was in fact, the strategy that won the war for the north. By the end of the war, Lincoln was widely regarded as a genius military strategist. His commitment to the mastery of any given subject or problem distinguished him from his peers.

Our Own Commitment

What does our own commitment look like? Can we say that we are dedicated to mastery? Not proficiency. Avoid average. Not “slightly better” than the competition. Mastery. Excellence. The desire to be the best. Are we unwaveringly committed to that? Do we pace our bedrooms and night, committed to mastering the problems and opportunities before us?

In business?

In our marriages?

With friendships?

Towards our customers?

Pick any area of life and become committed to mastery. Then pick a new area. Repeat. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself successful.

 

This is an excerpt from a recent talk I gave to business leaders and has been adapted for the blog. For any coaching inquiries related to developing your leadership capacity, please email me.

 

The Gettysburg Address:

Gettysburg Address

Becoming a Legacy Leader

Introduction

Between 1861 and 1865, America engaged in the bloodiest wartime moment in its history. The American Civil War, primarily about the state’s rights and the federal government’s role in daily life, dramatically shaped American belief, political life, economic positioning, and future trajectory.

I have found myself increasingly fascinated by this time and the people involved. There are the often-recognized men involved. None is more famous Abraham Lincoln. Widely recognized as one of the greatest presidents in American history, he radically shaped America’s future. He lived as a man committed to a vision of what it meant for people to be free. Abraham Lincoln

Other names play an important role during this time. Ulysses S. Grant became a close friend of Lincoln. After a series of failed generals, he became a man Lincoln could trust to accomplish the mission given to him. Other names like William Tecumseh Sherman and his famous march to the sea that divided the Confederacy gave much-needed victories and morale boosts to the North. Then there’s George Custer, who long before his last stand was a widely respected cavalry hero of the Civil War.

Finally, there are the less famous, but no less significant names that appear. People like George McClellan dubbed the Young Napoleon, who despite his great military genius and insight, was almost solely responsible for the North’s struggles early on. He struggled with taking action when it was demanded. Accounts suggest that had he advanced after an early northern victory the war would have lasted less than two years. Timely action would have saved many of the lives lost during the Civil War. Perpetually struggling with doubt and fear, he inflated enemy numbers as a way to avoid taking action and it cost the North dearly. George McClellan

Becoming a Legacy Leader

My study of these men has not only shaped much of my worldview but fueled the burning desire in me to answer the question, “What does it mean to be a legacy leader?” We remember Lincoln for many outstanding qualities. However, an even more important question is why? He’s not the only one with the qualities we praise in him, he’s not even the only president with those qualities. We could identify many presidents as competent leaders, effective communicators, and strong visionaries. So, what has set him apart? What made him a legacy leader? Well, that’s part of what we want to examine today.

As we emerge from the isolation of COVID and we hope to return to normal, we need legacy leaders now more than ever. So, my goal in this series is to help you understand the world of the Civil War a bit better, what we can learn from these men, and how we can apply it to our businesses today to meet the real needs of our employees, customers, and communities to shape a strong and compelling future.

When we examine questions like, “What made Lincoln the right man for the job?” we discover the qualities and characteristics that we can apply to ourselves that will grow us and our companies. When we understand how Grant seized the opportunity to go from a washed-up drunken, failure of a realtor to commanding general and future president, we discover that these same techniques apply to our world and the opportunity before us. Ulysses S. Grant

Similarly, understanding McClellan and his unmatched genius are necessary for us. Great wisdom and insight alone won’t bring victory. We must act. That is where McClellan failed and where we must prevail.

A Nation Divided

What we see emerge in the time leading up to the Civil War is in many ways a divided America.

Urban vs rural.

North vs south.

Free vs slave.

Industrial vs agricultural.

Prior to the Civil War, the concept of “American” was somewhat loose. States weren’t united and there was a greater degree of autonomy. That will change after the Civil War, and those four years will prove to be extremely transformative for the men involved and for the country.

We also see that today. America is divided and in need of legacy leaders who can unite it, transform it, and create a compelling future for it. Your presence here today tells me you care about that as well. You want to lead well. You, your staff, your business, your clients, your community. They are all counting on you to rise to the occasion and be a legacy leader and I hope, at least in part, to inspire and equip you on that journey in our time together.

 

Additional Notes:

This is an excerpt from a recent talk I gave to business leaders and has been adapted for the blog. For any coaching inquiries related to developing your leadership capacity, please email me.

 

The free Building With Purpose Conference is only available for a little while longer. To enroll, go here.

Building With Purpose Online Conference

Fight, Flight, or Fear … Isn’t there another choice? You bet! Michael Warden reminds us of this in his interview for the Building With Purpose conference. His challenge, to think creatively instead of reactively, is a timely word for us today. He inspires us to grow during this time and gives us some tangible ways to do so.

Check out this clip:

Building With Purpose

This excerpt is a part of the FREE online conference I’m hosting called Building With Purpose. This course will help you pivot during this time of social distancing and working from home.

For many of us, it’s a new experience. These experts will help you gain clarity and momentum and experience success.

To sign up for the conference, go here.

Registration is completely free and is currently open.

Building With Purpose Online ConferenceIn this conference, we hear from leading experts in:

  • Coaching
  • Business Consulting
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more

If you’re interested in starting or growing a business or even just wondering how to maximize your time and what to do next, enroll in the free conference.

To follow up, I’m offering all attendees a complimentary session.

To redeem your session, go here.

Isn’t There Another Choice?

I love how Michael reframes the conversation around creativity in action and not the negativity of reaction. It prompts us towards healthy growth and gives us strong language for action. Maybe, like Michael you’re asking, isn’t there another choice? Yes, here are some of my thoughts:

1.) Remember all you’ve overcome.

You have, quite literally, made it through everything previous to this in your life. While much of this is new and unexpected, you have ample evidence to suggest that you can make it through this as well.

2.) Choose contemplative action.

Michael does a nice job of helping us walk through the waters of necessary action without reckless direction. I like the term “contemplative action.” Years ago, Elise and I instituted a rule that we will pursue a new path, potential direction, or life change with 100% enthusiasm until we sense God telling us to stop. He blessed us with brains, skills, and passions and we should use them in ways that spark joy. When we sense him telling us to stop, we do. This has opened up tremendous opportunities and new career paths. We have been committed to both action, and being aware of what’s going on in the midst of it, or here, contemplative action.

3.) Seek sound advice.

Life was never meant to be lived alone. That’s what makes social distancing hard for so many. Be sure to have good, sound counsel in your life. Find a friend, a coach, a mentor, or significant other give feedback and encouragement. 

Building With Purpose Online Conference

Because of COVID-19, the changing landscape of human resources means that both employers and employees are entering a new workforce frontier. For some, working from home is a new experience and therefore requires a new way of thinking.

Still, others are questions of accountability, appropriate conduct, and billable hours.

For all of us, we’re realizing just how much we can miss the mark of success if we aren’t dialed in and laser-focused.

I had an excellent, and wide-ranging interview with Dr. Juanita Webb for the Building With Purpose Conference. Check out this clip:

 

Building With Purpose

This excerpt is a part of the FREE online conference I’m hosting called Building With Purpose. This course will help you pivot during this time of social distancing and working from home.

For many of us, it’s a new experience. These experts will help you gain clarity and momentum and experience success.

To sign up for the conference, go here.

Registration is completely free and is currently open.

Building With Purpose Online ConferenceIn this conference, we hear from leading experts in:

  • Coaching
  • Business Consulting
  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more

If you’re interested in starting or growing a business or even just wondering how to maximize your time and what to do next, enroll in the free conference.

To follow up, I’m offering all attendees a complimentary session.

To redeem your session, go here.

The Changing Landscape Of Human Resources

For many of us, the changing landscape of human resources can be a source of fear. However, like all things in life, we lean into the fear and learn to conquer it. That’s how we grow. For those of us facing those changes right now, here are three words of encouragement:

1.) The Good Outweighs The Bad.

Despite what you might see on the news, the good that people are doing far outweighs the bad. Like the famous Mr. Rogers quote, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” Yes, there are jerk-landlords and underdeveloped bosses. There are also amazing people doing amazing acts of service in this time of need. I have one friend who says her goal as an HR professional is to put the ‘human’ back in ‘human resources.’ Now more than ever, I think we are starting to see that.

2.) Opportunities Abound.

Working from home is new for may people. Personally, it has led to a complete transformation of my life. I love working from home. I see my family more, I engage in more meaningful projects, and I have seen my productivity increase. In seven years of working from home, I haven’t regretted a single day of it. While there is certainly going to be an adjustment period, look for the opportunities opening up in front of you, your family, your career, and your side-hustle.

3.) When in Doubt, Ask Questions.

One of the great things Dr. Webb reminds us of is that many employers haven’t had to think about working from home before. Most companies, are making it up as they go. They are building the aircraft and trying to fly it at the same time, so to speak. This means that these are great times to ask questions and take advantage of the new situation. What do reimbursements look like? Will the company provide additional material, training, or support for free? Can the compensation change? What about a more flexible work schedule? Asking questions, both for clarity and for creativity can open us up to a more enjoyable experience and a better working environment. It might even allow you to keep the best parts of working from home after quarantine ends.