Archives for August 2016

Your Ideal Day Is Waiting For You

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Each week the Monday Morning Mindset strives to help you create the mindset that is instrumental in creating your ideal week. Today, I want to talk to you about creating your ideal week.

I had two conversations within the last two weeks with engineer friends who work for a very large airplane company here in Seattle…they will go nameless. One of the things they’ve both said is that the company purports to put “people first.” But what’s become evident over the last five years it’s really more about “profit first” and people are secondary. Work has become a four-letter word for them and work is a slog to get through to the end of the week.

That is unfortunate, because I think there is an ideal day and an ideal week that is waiting for all of us. What needs to be present for you to have an ideal day? I believe there are three aspects of an ideal week you can benefit from. I also want to help you map out your ideal day. Here’s what I know.

#1. Love comes first. I know that for an ideal day to be present we have to love what we do. If I needed a surgeon, I want a surgeon who loves surgery. I don’ t want someone who simply likes surgery. Yes, you can be a good surgeon if you like your job, but you can be a REALLY good surgeon if you LOVE your work. For me, my ideal day starts with doing something I love doing.

#2. Talent comes second. My ideal day allows me to use my talents and skills every day. That doesn’t mean my days are a cakewalk. It means my day can be challenging, but because I’m learning new talents and new skills I overcome my challenges and can be successful.

#3.Value is essential.  My ideal day always involves doing something that is of value to someone in such a way that they appreciate. I strive to hear “it was really helpful for you to be involved in this project and I’m grateful for your insights.”

When you think about it, these three aspects of an ideal day, even though expressed differently for each of us, make for an ideal day. What would you add to this list? By making your own “ideal day” list and crafting what your ideal work looks like, the likelihood of your achieving it goes up appreciably.

Now, the two individuals I mentioned who are exasperated with management that has profit first, it may not be possible or it may be harder there, but they can articulate in context of the environment they work what they love doing, how they will use their talents and abilities to the best of their ability, and how they will provide value to others. When you and I do this I believe you’ll achieve your ideal week.

The Transformational Gift

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This week I want to talk to you about the transformational gift.

Sometimes when we give gifts, we think that we should go out and buy a nice bottle of wine, some flowers or chocolates, maybe even a new watch. We try and think of the person we’re giving the gift to and what they’d like, but the transformational gift is not a thing.

The transformational gift is our presence.

Yes, the transformational gift we give to others is not a thing, but rather an experience we share with someone. I realized this first hand recently when my wife, Alyson, who has become enamored with stand up paddle boarding ask me to give her the gift of my presence.

Alyson has purchased two stand-up paddle boards within the last two months. One is a flat-water board and the other is a board that can be ridden in rougher waters. She came in from paddle boarding and in preparation of her fiftieth birthday said, “Do you know what the greatest gift would be for my fiftieth birthday?” I said, “No, what’s that?”

She said, “the greatest gift would be for you to be out on the water with me on a stand-up paddle board.” “Hugh, it’s gorgeous! I see fish swimming underneath my board, I see herons and eagles flying overhead in the gorgeous blue skies…and I’m getting great exercise. It’s just gorgeous! And the one thing I want more than anything is for you to be out there with me. I know you’re never going to get into stand-up paddle boarding in the same way I have, but I love it so much that I want the love of my life to experience it with me. That would be the greatest gift.”

What Alyson didn’t know at the time was that she transformed my thinking substantially about gift giving. She gave me the gift of saying, “I love you and I don’t need or want more things. What I want is to spend time with you and I want you to enjoy this with me.”

I am in turn going down to Hood River, Oregon next week for the third time in three month to buy a stand-up paddle board from Eddie at Big Winds. Eddy has helped us so much that he is now one of our new best friends and I’m sure he’ll be on our Christmas card distribution list.

I want to remind you that it takes a shift in mindset to say that the gift I’m going to give someone is to simply to be present with them, and that by doing so I’ll cultivate a memorable experience.

Sometime our presence needs to be transactional. For example, I’m in your presence because I have to communicate something to you about an expectation or a task that needs completing. Yes, that’s necessary.

But the greatest gift is when I don’t “have to” spend time and communicate with you, but rather I choose to spend time with you. Imagine hearing, “I want to spend time with you.” That is a transformational gift.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week if you want to shift someone’s mindset, either in your personal life or your professional life, spend time with them. Don’t go in with an agenda, just be fully present with them. If you do that, it will be transformational.

Why Separation Is Preferable To Unification

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This week I want to talk to you about why separation is preferable to unification. You may have noticed that separation has gotten a bad rap. There are several reasons for that. There is the bad rap that came from the separation of the races in the deep south, and there was the separation that can from Bernie Madoff engaging in separating  people from their money.
But there are really good aspects of separation. There is the separation of wheat from the chaff. By removing the husk; the inedible portion, we’re left with the corn. There’s the beneficial act of separating the impurities in our water so we can ingest healthy water.
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to suggest that there are three things you need to separate yourself from this week in order to be really successful.
#1. Separate yourself from low expectations. The very first thing you want to do is separate yourself from people who have low expectations. These are people who are willing to settle and who don’t have the same aspirations as you do. They want to coast and they are content with the status quo. Ladies and gentlemen when the status quo becomes attractive or acceptable curiosity and innovation go out the window. You want to separate yourself from people like this.
#2. Separate yourself from people that believe failure is bad. Failure is not a permanent blemish on your character. Rest assured, there are people who are incredibly successful that look at failure as simply the next step in achieving something extraordinary. You want to unify yourself with people who believe failure is not bad and separate yourself from people who see failure as a terrible thing.
#3. Separate yourself from victims. Separate yourselves from people who see themselves as victims, that they believe someone is doing something to them. These are people who don’t take responsibility for their actions and that don not want to be held accountable.
Ladies and gentlemen, you do not want to be separated from the above types of people, and while many organizations admonish leaders and teams to work together, if you are trying to achieve optimum performance you have to separate yourself from these types of people. People who want to raise the bar and are striving for something extraordinary typically do not believe life is a struggle and believe they can be better next week than they were this week. This mindset attracts similar mindsets and is repelled by the opposite. Unification is not the answer in all cases; separation is a great answer to accelerating performance.
I ask you this week: where do you need to separate yourself, or where do you need to separate some of your team, so they can perform at a higher level? Answer that question and you’ll have a fabulous week.

What You Really Believe and Why It Matters

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I want to talk to you today about beliefs. I want to do so as a catalyst for you to clarify what you believe. Why? Because I believe if you get clear about what you believe, you can then focus on making it become more real.

To that end I’m going to role model what I believe you can benefit from doing.

I have fifteen things that I believe.

#1 I believe love makes the world a better place. Every major faith tradition believes that the world in which we live was created in love and for love and that we have a responsibility to live in alignment with that principle. I believe that love does make the world go round, but far too many of us forget the importance of love.

#2. I believe that generosity stems from gratitude. I think that when people are not grateful for what they have they hold on to what they have and are not generous with other people emotionally, spiritually or financially.

#3. I believe that to those who much has been given, much is expected. I have been incredibly blessed in my life, and I believe that in turn it is my role, my responsibility to share what I have learned with other people so that they can benefit accordingly.

#4. I believe we need to retire the word retirement. The statistics are that when I reach the age of sixty-five with and I’m reasonably healthy that I will live to ninety. I cannot imagine sitting dormant; as many people believe retirement to be, doing nothing for twenty-five years. I love what I do and as long as I am making a contribution to the world why would I stop?

#5. I believe we need to jettison the Golden Rule. Yes, jettison the Golden Rule and embrace the Platinum Rule instead. The Golden Rule says that I’ll treat people as I want to be treated. The Platinum Rule says that I will treat others in the way that they want to be treated. I believe we should do that as long as it is in accordance with our values and we are not violating them to do so.

#6. I believe we’re growing or dying. If we are not growing we are dying. If we’re not learning something new and thinking differently, we are decaying. Yes, grow or die.

#7. I believe in experiencing beauty daily. Whether in artwork or in a natural landscape, seeing beauty enriches us and uplifts our soul. Every day we should look at something beautiful and allow it to stir our soul and enrich our lives.

#8. I believe mindset trumps skill-set. I believe there are incredibly talented people who never reach their full potential because their mindset is tainted with issues from the past that have not favored them well. Their mindset soils everything that happens to them.

#9. I believe in creating value. Each day we should strive to create value for others; our customers and our employees yes as well as for ourselves. We should create high levels of value and stop looking for a deal. When we do we’ll receive value in return for what we’ve created.

#10. I believe people live in fear. Fear has become pervasive, and based on past experiences drag around the past. I believe fear stifles all creativity. In my own life I have had to jettison fear because it was a large part of how I grew up. I think there are far to many people walking around living in fear.

#11. I believe in assuming positive intent. There are people we will interact with that will not to be the best of interactions, but we should assume they had no ill intent. People are not out to take advantage of us.

#12. I believe society has fostered a victimization and entitlement mindset. There are people who believe they should have the same outcome in life as someone else. Just because you are able to go into business does not mean you should have the same outcome. Each of us is entitled to the same starting point, but not the same finishing point.

#13. I believe that being overwhelmed is a choice. When we lack clear priorities, roles, expectations and what we can say yes and no to, when we have not focused on the critical few things that absolutely have to be done we will feel overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed can be overcome by making one or two choices that allow us to feel empowered and in control.

#14. I believe that life is for savoring. I believe there is so much beauty to see as well as interesting people to meet in interesting locations that we cannot marvel at the worlds around. And yet, many people are simply surviving and not savoring life. I think that is a terrible way to live your life, and that ladies and gentlemen is a mindset issue.

#15. I believe I can help you live a more rewarding life. Without question I have a fabulous and what I call a very blessed life. I believe that in some small way by doing this list of what I believe I may help you compile the five, ten, fifteen or twenty things you believe. I believe that by doing so you will get clear about what you believe and in turn focus on making those things become real.

I also hold the belief that some of you will share this with someone important to you, and that by doing so you will help someone live a more rewarding and enriching life. Writing your list can be a life enhancing and powerful exercise.

Ladies and gentlemen, when you get clear about what you believe, you’ll hyper-focus on them and you’ll make them become even more of a reality…and I believe that makes for a fabulous week.