In his classic novel, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", Mark Twain tells the story of Tom turning the task of painting 900 square feet of fence in to a grand adventure where a group of boys actually pay (albeit with apple cores and dead rats) for the "privilege" of helping Tom get his work done. There was nothing different about what needed to be done - what changed was the perspective about why the work mattered. Tom created a vision that was compelling and exciting enough that what everyone once considered a time-sucking, life draining task was transformed in a way that caused Tom's friends to demand to be involved.
"Work" - at it's core - is the way we humans provide for ourselves. While we do that, we have the very cool opportunity to create for ourselves a purpose behind the work that can fuel our individual passions and make the world better.
Picking up trash, or creating a cleaner, healthier community?
Moving rocks or building a wall that creates beauty and order?
Going to class or building knowledge to enable you to impact the world?
Making sales calls or improving peoples lives by helping them understand how to use your product?
The tasks are the same - you get to choose how to approach the "work"...
Some think baseball's "Opening Day" should be a national holiday. There's this strong sense of new beginning and every fan's belief that, this year, their team will grind through 162 games, make it to the playoffs and, somehow, win the World Series. The pageantry and excitement, for many, is a highlight of the year. And yet...
It's just ONE DAY
What's so special? Aside from the real excitement baseball fans have about getting the season started, Opening Day is the day everyone gets to joyously, happily and without remorse, have hope in a future outcome.
Have some fun and give yourself a chance to have several "Opening Days" each year.
Beginning a new job
Meeting a new friend and working toward a relationship
Starting an exciting project
Creating a new perspective and new habits around your health
Take a day and celebrate the feeling of optimism and energy that comes with living in a way that expects great things from your future.
Each day we are presented with numerous choices. What to wear, what route to take to work, what to have for lunch etc. But there are two very specific choices that I am going to focus on today.
1. The choice to put down and belittle others.
2. The choice to uplift and encourage others.
The first choice is almost always the one we resort to when someone angers or disagrees with us but this reaction rarely ever helps the situation. The second choice is one that many people strive to do but find it extremely difficult to implement consistently. Both choices however have the power to affect not only the lives of the people around us but also our own, whether it be positively or negatively.
It may not always be easy to uplift someone, especially if that someone is “rubbing you the wrong way”, but if we can shift our paradigm away from negativity and instead towards gratitude and praise it can be one of the most freeing feelings in the world.
No longer are you focused on how that person is affecting you, but rather you begin to realize that your response can affect them in a much more beneficial way.
My challenge to you is for the next 7 days push yourself to not speak a single negative / demeaning word or comment about another person and to at least once a day say something uplifting to someone that you don’t or wouldn’t normally say. During the next 7 days take notes on the change of your thoughts and attitudes as well as the change in the people you spend most of your time with.
Finally, I will leave you with a quote from Nelson Mandella. “As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.”
There has never been a better time than now to become a Lifting Leader!
What's the value in the creation of capacity where none existed before? That's a pretty easy question to answer, isn't it? Depending on where the capacity has been added, here's a partial list of what can happen -
Hungry people are able to eat
Scared people feel safe
Children can go to school
Parents can provide for their families
People can begin to see their full potential
Communities can be healthier
Disagreements can be resolved
Of course, we could keep going and add to the list of things impacted when capacity is created, but let's stop here and ask the question...
Who will create that capacity?
That's a tougher question to answer, isn't it? What would happen if we all took on the responsibility to "create capacity" when we see need? Yes - we put our personal resources of time, money, energy, talents at stake when we commit to the effort - but if not us, then who?
Seek and Find Where You Will Serve
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
Schweitzer was an early 20th century theologian, musician, physician and philosopher. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for the relief work he did in Africa. As you can imagine, he had an enormous body of work that had life-giving, global implications.
It's unlikely anyone reading this will win a Nobel Prize and we probably won't be written about on a large scale. Yet, we have the same opportunity as Schweitzer to find happiness in service. What kind of service? That's for each of us to discover, to seek out, to find... We're surrounded by opportunities. A starter question to ask would be, "based on my circumstances, my resources and my skill set, what can I do to make other people's lives better?"
Seek it, find it, do it. Take a shot at being "Albert Schweitzer" for someone today.
"Have you ever spent time watching unsupervised 4th graders on a play ground or in a social setting? It is a serious "law of the jungle" scene where only the biggest, fastest, coolest, hippest, most athletic, best looking, best dressed, best tech equipped kids get respect. It's raw, unfiltered power willing to grind in the dust any unsuspecting kid that tries to break the paradigm in place. 4th graders are tough - and they have been since the beginning of recorded history.
Have you ever spent time watching adults in a business meeting or in a social setting? It is a serious "law of the jungle" scene where only the biggest, fastest, coolest, hippest, most athletic, best looking, best dressed, best tech equipped adults get respect. It's raw, unfiltered power willing to grind in the dust any unsuspecting person that tries to break the paradigm in place. People are tough - and they have been since the beginning of recorded history.
My point with the above word play is that there are long standing existing "paradigms of power" that are not going away. These paradigms are worth fighting because they impose limits on the potential of individuals and organizations. I've got no issue with smart, talented, handsome, well dressed people achieving whatever success they can. My issue is too many high potential people are excluded or feel excluded and, if we create a path for everyone to contribute, we will function better as an organization, as a community and as individuals.
Lifting Leaders is about helping individuals - all individuals - understand three things and build their ability to create Dynamic Influence:
1) The strengths, talents and passions that make up the Character of the individual
2) The Community the individual serves
3) The Choices the individual must make to build influence and impact their community
The Lifting Leaders gang will be busy bringing podcasts, blogs, articles and big ideas to people interested in new thinking about how to get things done and live a big life. Stay tuned..."