Tag Archives: Leadership

4 Signs You’re Not Leadership Material

23 Mar

leadership material

I don’t know who came up with this extremely popular notion of promoting employees into leadership positions based on tenure, but to whoever’s responsible..stupid idea, bro.

The truth of the matter is this…

NOT EVERYONE’S LEADERSHIP MATERIAL…

And that’s okay!

Just because you’re a genius in your field…

Just because you’ve been at your job for twenty-some odd years…

It doesn’t mean you have to have direct reports. 

It takes really particular skills to be a manager.

Heck- it takes a whole lot of patience too.

And for that reason, throughout my career I’ve been absolutely dumfounded when I’ve seen some not-so-leadership-material employees placed in managerial positions.

Let me say it again.

IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE!

And like I said…that’s okay.

You can still be a genius.

You can still be kick-ass at your job.

But if you’re not leadership material, please, for God’s sake…don’t make other people suffer. 

Now some of you may be wondering whether or not you’re leadership material.

(But really…those of you who aren’t…you probably already know that.)

Just in case though…to clarify this for everyone…here are 4 Signs that You’re Not Leadership Material.

1. You Have Zero Social Skills/You Hate People

People say hi to you and you stare at them, but you don’t say hi back. You don’t hold doors open for people 5 centimeters behind you. You know…basic courtesy kind of stuff.

If you’re the kind of person who avoids social situations at all costs and really doesn’t want to be troubled with interpersonal relationships, then that’s fine…but you have no business managing others. This is pretty self-explanitory.

2. You Don’t Like It When People Ask You Questions

Questions annoy you. When people ask you dumb questions that you think they ought to know the answers to, you think they’re stupid…you think that they are mentally challenged. Every time that someone asks you a question, you feel that they’re taking time away from you doing your own work. Open door policy? Forget that! Locked door policy is what you’d implement…peace and quiet is what you need.

Good managers want their employees to feel comfortable coming to them whenever they have questions. And the reality is, good employees do ask a lot of questions. Managers need to accept that part of their job is helping out their direct reports, and they shouldn’t make them feel bad about seeking that support.

3. You Couldn’t Care Less if Your Team is Motivated/Inspired

You’re sure as hell no cheerleader. You don’t think it’s your job to motivate those around you. You’re here to get a job done and everyone should be on the same page as you.

FALSE. Managers need to be cheerleaders. If it’s not written in the job description, someone’s lying to you. If you want your team to work well and to perform to the best of its ability, you’ll need to take out those metaphorical pom-poms at times and inspire your people. Because let’s face it, there are times at any job when morale is low. And when morale is low, not a whole lot of work gets done. Teams that get out of that slump are the teams who have great leaders, and believe me, they’re super grateful for that. Look into it…they call it transformational leadership. 

4. You Want to Punch Positive People in the Face

You hate it when people smile. You hate it when you come to work Monday morning and people are actually happy. What the heck is wrong with them? They ought to be a bit less peppy.

If you’re a negative Nancy, you have no business managing others. You need to be a positive influence, and people need to actually enjoy being around you. Do you have to do backflips everyday and sing songs? No. But you should strive to be a positive role model for others and part of that means helping others see the bright side of things regardless of how bad any work situation is.

***Now it’s your turn…what else makes someone not leadership material?

Other stuff you might like:

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5 Reasons Why This Twenty-Something LOVES Her New Job

6 Feb

Work Hard Have Fun No Drama I’ve been at my new job for 8 months now, and really… I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy-fast time has gone by. One minute I’m interviewing and BAM!!! Here I am almost a year into it. Taking this new job was a huge leap for me. For starters, I knew nothing about the industry. While most people being interviewed had years of experience doing the job at other companies… I. Had. Zero. But man was I willing to learn! People warned me. People told me the job would be terrible. People asked me if it was really something that I wanted to do. And although I didn’t know much, I knew that it was an exciting opportunity and that I needed a new challenge. 8 months later, I thank God every day that I made that jump. So to help explain exactly why I’m so happy, here are 5 reasons why THIS 20-something LOVES her new job…

  1. I’m Surrounded By People Who Are Willing to Teach Me

Like I said, I was a newbie. I accepted a job as a Contract Administrator in a large Supply Chain department and I didn’t even know what a backorder was. This could have been a total failure. But it wasn’t. And you know why? Because the people around me are really freaking awesome. Because from the minute I stepped foot in this department, my co-workers took me under their wings and they taught me everything they know. Because they were secure enough in their own abilities and talents that they didn’t feel threatened by the thought of sharing what they’ve learned over the years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

  1. We’re Treated Like Adults

Imagine a workplace where you can go to the bathroom without your boss staring at his computer counting the number of minutes that you’re away from your desk. Imagine a workplace where you can go to work and if you need to leave to a doctor’s appointment or to pick up your sick kid, you can do that and no one gives you a hard time about it. We can do that here. After a really hectic morning we can go have a nice lunch off campus, come back to work, and we’re not looked down upon for taking a break. It’s kind of awesome. We’re treated like adults. And you might be thinking well yea, we should be treated like adults since that’s what we ARE, but you’d be surprised how absolutely rare this kind of work environment is. We’re treated like professionals and even though we may not be at our desks glued to our chairs every moment of every day, everyone knows that we’ll get the job done. We always do.

  1. Our Work/Play Balance is all Sorts of Fantastic

You can go to work, work super hard, and have fun doing it. It’s true, I promise! And although I’ve questioned this notion in the past, I swear on my life I’ve never had so much fun at work. And you might think okay… she’s a contract administrator…sounds kinda super lame and boring. But dude, we laugh and we joke and we have so much fun. And the best part about it is that even though we laugh and we have a good time, we’re still taken seriously because we produce excellent work. I don’t think you have to be miserable and serious all the time to be considered a professional. I think that you can work and play and play while you work. Because really, if you don’t, it’s so easy to go crazy.

  1. My Bosses Are Approachable, Nice Human Beings

It’s not something that I take for granted. My bosses are really one of a kind. They’re legit humans. Like… super- down- to -earth –real- people- who- have- feelings- and- know- that- I –have- feelings –and- so- they’re- nice- and- not- mean-and- they- don’t- scream- at- me- and- belittle- me- and- make- me- feel- like- I’m- stupid. In a nutshell. Do they do their jobs? Yes! Really well, in fact. Do they tell me when I’ve made a mistake and help me fix it? Yep. Do they provide guidance? All the time. But do they have huge egos? No. Do they walk around thinking they’re better than anyone? No. Do they scream and yell and embarrass their employees? Never. And that’s why I love working for them. They have an open door policy and we can talk to them about anything whenever we need to and we’re not scared of them, because they’re super cool. I mean, on what planet should we have to be scared of our bosses? How does that make us perform better? If you figure that out, let me know. But in the meantime, I’ll stick to working for bosses who really know how to lead.

  1. They Took A Chance on Me

I’m like 500% positive that there are people who would have never hired me for this position. There are managers who would have taken one look at my resume and would have thrown it in the trash simply because I didn’t have experience in this field. But my leadership took a chance on me. They decided that I had potential and that I could be taught, and so they were willing to invest in me. They were willing to give me a shot and by giving me that shot, I feel the need to prove to them every day that they made the right decision. I respect them so much for that, and I feel so lucky every day to be a part of this kick-ass team. Other stuff you might like:

Using Technology for Good

30 Jan

It used to be that we had to travel miles and miles to send a message.

Heck, people used to ride on horses for days to deliver a piece of paper (think about just how uncomfortable that must have been).

Smoke signals.

Telegrams.

Messages in bottles.

But today we’re lucky enough to have this beautiful thing called the Internet.

Let’s face it…it’s where we get most of our information.

Yea, there’s a lot of pointless stuff on the Internet. There’s a lot of focus on celebrity gossip and drama.

But there’s also really important stuff too.

For example, I love it when I come across amazing social media efforts conducted by organizations like Rotary.

Rotary has put together an amazing campaign – End Polio Now.

They’ve put together live tweet sessions, Facebook posts, and they’ve even had a video contest.

And they’ve done all of this because they believe it’s important to share this information with the public. They want people to know that we’re so close to eradicating polio, and that Millennials could very possibly be the last generation to see this terrible disease.

Now some people might not like these campaigns. They might say, “But helloo…I have no money…I can’t donate to your cause! Stop pressuring me.”

And I get it…trust me. I’m a poor broke college girl too.

But guess what!

It only takes 60 cents to protect a child from this terrible disease.

That’s it… $0.60.You can’t even buy a soda these days with $0.60.

On top of that, the beauty of social media is that you can easily spread a message for others to see.

You can share information with just the press of a button.

And you know what makes that so awesome?

By sharing the message with others, even more people who have the ability to donate might just hear about that cause.

So you can tweet about your favorite celebrity’s new boyfriend, or you can tweet about something bigger.

And by doing that, you can make a difference.

As a Millennial, your voice does matter.

We’ve come a long way since the days of horse and buggy.

Information is at our fingertips.

So there’s no excuse.

We can keep using technology solely for entertainment, or we can take responsibility for making a difference.

Because we can and we should.

And we can use this technology for good.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/80940373″>What will your generation be the last to see?</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4516804″>End Polio Now</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Join in, Share your Voice, and Donate. Let’s make history together.

  • Generate Social Media Buzz – Share the video with your social networks and help raise awareness that we are this close to making history.
  • Give Financially – Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $0.60 can protect a child from the disease. Every $1 you donate to Rotary will be matched with $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million/year.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

Other stuff you might like:

How to Get Noticed at Work in Your 20s

8 Jan

Coaching_Mentoring

I once had a boss tell me that had she known I was 20 years old when she hired me, I would have never gotten the job.

Nice lady.

But if you know me and/or if you’ve read my writing, you know that I’m a huge proponent of the fact that age has zero to do with success and potential.

I’m sure that there are plenty of really really uber-smart 16 year olds who can do my job better than I can.  So age, therefore, should have nothing to do with the hiring process.

Despite my strong opinion on this subject, let’s face it… ageism exists. People who are older have to deal with it and those of us fresh out of college have to deal with it too.

It’s not fun.

Some people don’t think we’re capable of much. Some people really underestimate our ability.

So here are some things that we can do in our twenties to prove all those haters wrong. Because if you’re doing the right things in the workplace, you’re going to get noticed.

But you’re going to get noticed as the amazing and capable employee, not as the little twenty year old fresh out of college.

1. Keep Your Word

Did you just say you were going to do something? Awesome! Now do it. There’s nothing more frustrating to a boss than an employee who says they’ll take care of something and then doesn’t. Be mindful of the commitments you make and have excellent follow-through. Your boss will be much more likely to continue giving you great assignments if they believe that you’ll really get it done.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For More Work

People -especially us in our twenties- tend to avoid voicing our work needs because we’re afraid that our bosses will think we’re annoying. Regardless of how busy your boss is, real leaders will take the time to listen to you. If you feel that you’re not being challenged, let it be known. If you want more work and more assignments, say it. That’s the only way you’re going to be given more opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be known as the employee who’s hungry for growth opportunities.

3. For The Love of God, Avoid Gossiping At All Costs

Having worked in a big-girl-real-life job for about 4 years now, it’s beyond sad to me how some “grown-ups” behave at work. I mean, it’s really worse than high school- or at least, high school all over again. If you want to get noticed at work as that all-star employee, avoid the gossiping at all costs. Keep yourself put together and avoid any kind of negative behavior that your co-workers are participating in. People twice your age will act like kids- you don’t need to be one of them. You’re a professional, so act like it.

4. Read Up On Your Industry

Read books. Read magazines. Read journal articles. Read at home. Read before bed. Read during your lunch break. You should be known as an expert in your field, and the only way to do that is to be constantly learning. Things change quickly, and if you stay on top of current industry happenings, you’ll be the perfect person to turn to when your boss needs to know what’s up.

5. Be Willing To Do The Work No One Wants To Do

I get it… no one wants to be the guy who takes out the trash on Friday… no one wants to be the guy who works with that difficult client… That new project that seems impossible? No one wants it.

Not a single soul.

And that’s exactly why YOU SHOULD DO IT.

Put a nice big smile on your face and get those things done, becuase if you say yes to those awful tasks, better opportunities and more responsibility will be given to you.

Your boss needs to know that you’re a team player. She needs to know that you can do the annoying stuff before she can fully depend on you to tackle the stuff you’d really love to do.

So hopefully that helps a little! Anything else you can think of?

Other stuff you might like:

Why NOT Taking Time Off Is Stupid

11 Nov
watermarked-never-get-so-busy-making-a-living-that-you-forget-to-make-a-life

motivateddecor.wordpress.com

Some people never take vacation.

Worse yet, some people complain when OTHER people take vacation.

time off

The belief, these days, in the lovely corporate world -which P.S. I have no patience for- is that if your butt isn’t glued to your desk Monday-Friday 8 hours a day, you’re not a hard worker.

It’s a concept so sad that just thinking about it makes me want to cry.

Then, it makes me want to punch someone.

In the face.

Repeatedly.

We’ve somehow gotten to the point where people are scared of taking vacation. People are scared of taking time off.

Why?

Because they’re afraid that if they do, they’ll be considered a slacker.

There’s Amy…she’s going on a cruise next week…OBVIOUSLY she’s not very committed to her job.

*Shake my head*

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that it’s very possible to be a hard-working super-awesome employee

AND

Someone who enjoys using their allotted vacation time.

It’s a beautiful concept, work-life balance.

Some people really ought to try it.

You know, I’m pretty sure we can go to work and be efficient and get things done and STILL have time for a life.

STILL have time for ourselves.

And STILL have time for our families.

I don’t think we should have to choose between work and a life, and I certainly don’t think we should have to feel guilty about it.

So now that the holidays are quickly approaching, talk to your boss about taking a few days off.

Even if it’s just one day.

Eat.

Travel.

See new things.

Enjoy a quiet day by yourself to unwind.

Make time for your family.

Make time for your friends.

Laugh at something ridiculous.

Yes, it’s important to do good work.

But it’s important to do good life too.

Other stuff you might like:

 

Finishing What We’ve Started

29 Aug

finish

I want you guys to think about something for a second…

Over the past year, how many projects have you left unfinished?

How many super-awesome ideas have you had that you’ve just kind of forgotten about?

How many times have you said that you wanted to do something…and yet you haven’t gotten around to doing it?

It’s not a fun feeling, is it? Thinking about all that wasted energy…

That’s one of the things that most annoys me about people in general. It annoys me that we have a general tendency to not finish what we’ve started.

At work, we go to meetings where we brainstorm and throw out ideas about how we can make things better. And then you know what happens?

Nothing.

Nothing happens. We go back to our usual day and function as we normally do.

In our personal lives, we have dreams and goals and every once in a while, we have one of those light bulb moments. We figure out how we can change our lives for the better.

And then you know what happens?

Nothing.

Nothing happens. Or, sometimes, SOMETHING happens…for a week or two. And then we go back to our usual day and function as we normally do.

Annoying, isn’t it?

I mean, sometimes I can’t help but wonder why we even start things if we don’t push ourselves to finish.

Now sure… there ARE some things that you really shouldn’t finish…like bad books and whole tubs of ice cream.

But for the most part, we really should make every effort to finish what we’ve put into place.  

That’s one of the reasons why I admire Rotary so much.

Through their efforts to completely eradicate polio, they’ve been able to reach a 99% reduction rate.

Some organizations would be happy with that. For some organizations, that would be enough.

But not for Rotary.

They know that they’re SO CLOSE to their goal, but they recognize that they’ve still got that other 1% to go.

And that means something to them. They’re not stopping until their done.

They’re not stopping because recently there have been outbreaks in Somalia and parts of Africa that were previously polio-free.

And for that reason, as long as polio still exists, children everywhere are at risk of being affected by the disease.

Because if we experience a resurgence of polio, 10 million children could be affected throughout the next 40 years.

And we don’t want that.

Rotary and its partners in the global initiative have already put so much work and effort into helping this great cause. They’ve helped immunize 2.5 billion children – yes – BILLION, and as a result, they’ve prevented more than 10 million children worldwide from being affected by polio.

So now it’s time to finish what they’ve started.

Now it’s time to tackle that last 1%…and they’re committed to doing so.

So today, I’m making the same commitment to finish the things that I’ve started. Or at the very least, to give these things my all.

Because if everyone were to leave their efforts unfinished, what would we really accomplish as a society? How would we make life better?

We’re creative, we’re passionate, and we’re too full of potential to let it go to waste.

So make things happen.

Finish what you’ve started or start something worth finishing.

Other stuff you might like:

 

5 Really Simple Leadership Lessons from Bar Rescue

26 Aug

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This weekend, I did nothing.

I mean, ZERO. Nada. Zilch.

It was awesome.

I just sat on my couch and binge-watched TV shows.

I was trying to take advantage of some quality TV time, given that starting this Saturday my TV will play one thing and one thing only…  Alabama Football.  Roll Tide, everyone. My man friend WILL hide the remote, for sure.

So anyway, one of the shows we like to watch is Bar Rescue.

It’s a highly-entertaining show where disastrous bars and nightclubs seek the advice of nightlife-expert, Jon Taffer, in order to make a come-back.

Some of these bars have maybe 3.5 customers.

Others are, like, $100K in debt.

The worst ones have fungus growing on the walls.

And that’s disgusting.

But what I really love about this show is that the cause of most of these problems is poor leadership. 

Yep, even the fungus.

So here’s a list of 5 leadership lessons I’ve learned by watching the show. Sure, Jon Taffer nearly punches people, but hey…he gets his points across.

1. You can’t lead if you’re never there.

On the show, a lot of bar owners have been in tears. They’ve cried because they owe so much money and they’ll have to close their doors in a month if things don’t get better. And then when Jon asks them how often they come around to their business, they usually respond, “Oh, I don’t know…once or twice a month.”

OMG and your business is failing? What a shocker!!!…not.

In order to lead a successful business, you need to know what’s going on. And you can’t do that if you’re never there. It’s that simple. Employees need a leader that they feel comfortable talking to and they need someone who’s actively engaged.

Visibility is crucial.

2. If you don’t care, your employees won’t care either.

A lot of times, these bars have closed due to an overwhelming sense of apathy. AKA… no one really cares. There is ZERO passion. There is ZERO pride. And most of the time, it’s the owner’s fault.

If you own a business and you yourself don’t have a sense of pride in your work, guess what?! Neither will your employees. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, it’s hard for your employees to want to give 100% all the time. I mean, think about it? Why would you work extra-hard at your job if your boss doesn’t even care?

So as a leader, it’s up to you to develop a culture of wanting to give 100%…a culture of pride in your business…a culture that leads to success.

3. You should be able to pick up the slack when your employees are drowning.

I love the episodes where Jon and his team set up “test-runs” to see how the bars usually function- or well, DON’T function. Most of the time, they end in complete failure because EVERYONE is doing EVERYTHING that they shouldn’t be doing. Hence why they’re on the show.

But my favorite thing to watch is when the staff is completely drowning at the bar. There aren’t enough glasses…there aren’t enough bartenders…there are tons of people waiting on drinks and food…and the owner is just hanging out… leaning against a wall…doing NOTHING.

So Jon screams at him….with good reason.

As a leader, you should be able to help your staff when they’re overwhelmed. Okay, so you own a bar. Does that mean you can’t wash dishes? No. You have hands. That task is not beneath you. When employees see that their leader is willing to help them out, even with the smallest of things, it’s always appreciated. And more often than not, the difference between successful organizations and those not-so-successful, are leaders who aren’t afraid to clean fungus off the wall. 

4. You ultimately set the example.

One of the things that I’ve learned from this show is just how much alcohol goes to waste at a bar. If bartenders don’t pour drinks correctly, they spill the alcohol all over the counter and there goes a lot of money. On top of that, there are a lot of bar owners who just give away tons of drinks to customers.

I guess they think it’ll make them seem cool.

So I love it when Jon shows the owners footage of the bartenders giving away free drinks. Then he shows the owner how much that costs his business. Then the owner freaks out and has a drama-queen tantrum.

“THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!”…  “HOW CAN YOU BE GIVING AWAY MY MONEY??”

And then Jon shows footage that they’ve captured on hidden cameras showing the owner giving away free drinks all night. Shots…champagne… to everyone.

You can’t hold people to a certain standard if you don’t even hold YOURSELF to it. As a leader, you set the example, like it or not. So if you’re behaving poorly, guess what?! Your employees are going to think it’s okay. And they’re going to behave just the same…. or worse.

The good news is that as a leader, you CAN set the bar high…you just need to know that the bar is for you, too.

 5. Empower your employees for better results.

Some of these bars have epically failed JUST because the owners refused to listen to their staff.

Because, well… if you’re the owner, you obviously know everything, right? Your ideas are obviously the best, right?

Definitely not.

Sometimes, Jon makes a suggestion and the staff says that they had recommended that years ago…but the owner wouldn’t listen.

The staff had taken the initiative to change something that wasn’t working… but then the owner changed it back to how it used to be.

As a leader, you have to know that the greatest asset you have is your staff. So you need to learn how to use their knowledge…and their talent…and their ideas…to make your business better.

Essentially, they’re the ones doing the job on a day-to-day basis. They know what works. They know what doesn’t work.

So empower them to make decisions, and you might see much better results.

I could ramble forever, but I won’t bore you today. What else, though? What other simple leadership lessons do you wish that more “leaders” would learn?

For more on leadership, check out these posts.

Leadership and Influence at All Levels

8 Jul

When you think of leadership, what comes to mind?

A senior manager?

A CEO?

A closet full of perfectly-tailored suits?

I guess the notion of leadership often coincides with this pretty crazy idea that leaders are always at the top.

Leaders are the ones who go to meetings…

Leaders are the ones who tell us what to do…

Leaders are the ones with fancy titles…

But really, it doesn’t work that way.

Because it’s simply just not true.

Leadership has absolutely nothing to do with position.

Leadership has nothing to do with age.

And because of that, leaders can be found at all levels.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that best leaders are the ones that don’t even realize that they’re leading.

They don’t have a corner office.

They don’t attend hundreds of meetings.

And they don’t wear the perfectly tailored suits.

But they DO want to make a difference.

And they inspire OTHERS to make a difference.

And because of their passion and determination, they’re successful.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m a huge fan of Rotary.

Because they believe that everyone can make a difference.

Through their youth programs that emphasize service and leadership, they focus on building the leaders of tomorrow.

And I think that’s really cool.

Because they acknowledge the fact that even young professionals can be leaders.

And they give young professionals the opportunity to make this world a better place.

Take Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, for example.

We’re SO close to completely eradicating polio.

To date, Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide and only 3 countries remain polio-endemic. 

Now, a 99 % reduction is huge! A 99% reduction is significant!

But it’s not 100%, so we’ve got more work to do.

Today’s young professionals have the chance to help finish this fight. Within the next five years, we can make history. We could possibly rid the world of the second disease ever to be eradicated and that, my friends, would be awesome. Because at the end of the day, by joining initiatives such as End Polio Now, and fighting for causes that we’re passionate about, we can all be leaders.

Fancy title, or not. So today, I’m being a leader.

I’m joining the World’s Biggest Commercial because I believe in the cause and it’s my way of making a small difference. I’m officially one of over 31,000 participants from 149 countries!

Look!

Pic5

And now it’s your turn.

Find something that you believe in and fight hard for it.

Be a leader and make a positive impact.

Because the world needs good people and the world needs good leaders. And they’re not always on top, they’re at all levels.

YOU can make a difference, so get to it.  

Here’s How You Can Help:

  • Make History. Visit EndPolio.org and take part in the World’s Biggest Commercial in a show of solidarity and raise awareness for the complete eradication of polio. People around the world are uploading their photo making a “this close” gesture to join the commercial, and sharing the news with their blogs and social networks to make sure that we finish the fight to eradicate this terrible—and completely preventable —disease.
  • Generate Social Media Buzz. Tweet using the hashtag #EndPolioNow and including the EndPolio.org URL to help raise awareness.
  • Give Financially. Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $.60 can protect a child from the disease. Every $1 you donate to Rotary will be matched with $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million/year.
  • Share the good news with your community. Inform your social circles that we are “this close” to ending polio, encourage them to join the World’s Biggest Commercial and make history, and share these actions items with them for ways in which they, too, can help.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

 

Be The Little Fish! (Why It’s Good To Be Around People Who Are Better Than You)

10 Jun

do better

I’m kind of a failure sometimes.

Like today… I wanted to work out.

So I went to CrossFit only to remember that the class I was planning on joining had been changed to an advanced session.

For ADVANCED CrossFit athletes.

No…let me rephrase that.

For ADVANCED ninjas that can somehow lift 300 lbs and make it seem ridiculously easy.

And that’s just their warm-up.

Now, I am NOT a ninja.

I just want to work out so that I can keep eating all the time.

Because eating makes me happy. And I like being happy.

So I decided to join in on the class despite the fact that I was obviously the LEAST advanced person in the room.

I mean, one of the coaches came up to me and asked me specifically…

“You’re doing this class?”

To which I responded…

“Ummm…yea…unless you kick me out.”

But he’s nice and I like him so he didn’t kick me out.

And  I started the workout.

And the workout was harder than anything I’ve done in a really long time.

And it was embarrassing because while everyone was easily lifting 150+ lbs, I was lifting like, 75 lbs.

It sucked, because I wasn’t the best.

And I really like being the best.

At everything.

I mean, I really thought about leaving more than once. I knew this class was way out of my league and I hated feeling like the weakest one in the group.

I was super intimidated.

But then we attempted back squats. And since we had to partner up, I kind of just tried to keep up with the weight that my partners were using.

Normally, I would have stopped at 100 lbs.

Because that’s the most weight I’ve ever successfully back squatted.

But today, I wanted to push myself.

Because everyone else was doing so awesome.

So by the end of the movement, I had reached my personal back squat record of 125 lbs.

And it felt amazing.

I felt so accomplished.

Driving home, I thought about how happy I was that I didn’t  leave the class early. I was glad that I pushed through. Because even though I wasn’t the best in the class today, being surrounded by athletes who are much better than I am, made me strive to be better. And I WAS better. Better than I’ve been in a long time.

In life…in our jobs…in our careers…we have a tendency to want to be the best.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But sometimes, we tend to put ourselves in positions where we’re the “big fish in the little pond”, so to say.

We’re comfortable in our environment, it’s familiar, and we’re the best at what we do. There’s no longer any competition.

We’ve reached the top and it’s time to move on to the next level.

Only, sometimes, we don’t go to the next level. We stay where we are because we know that going to the next level means that we’ll be at the BOTTOM of the next level.

And that’s uncomfortable. Because we’ll be out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to work harder to be the best.

It won’t be easy.

I PROMISE you, it won’t be easy.

Because we’ll be surrounded by ninjas who can lift 300 lbs just warming up.

We’ll be surrounded by people who are better than us.

But that shouldn’t scare you. It should excite you, actually.

Because being around those people will motivate you.

Being around those people will give you a reason to push yourself harder.

And ultimately, you’ll be better.

At least, I really think so.

There’s a famous quote that I love that goes like this:

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” -Unknown

But wait…if we’re the smartest person, isn’t that a good thing? Why should you look for another room?

Because you should ALWAYS be looking for rooms with people who are smarter, brighter, more experienced, or in my case today, much stronger. Because in those rooms, you’ll grow. And in those rooms, you’ll learn. And in those rooms you’ll challenge yourself and push yourself  harder than you ever have before, and you’ll come out better than you were entering them.

So don’t be afraid to be the little fish sometimes. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Be the little fish in the huge pond and swim against the current as if the quality of your life depends on it.

Because it does.

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Prepare For Career Success

4 Jun

Prepare2

This weekend I went shooting.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t that bad.

I didn’t shoot myself by accident…so pretty much, I did much better than I expected.

It’s not something I do every day, but I’m glad I did it.

Because for a long time, I’ve been scared of guns. Terrified, really.

And for that reason, I never thought I’d actually pick one up and shoot it.

But I figured that if I ever (God forbid) find myself in a situation where I DO need to know how to shoot to defend myself, I’ll be a lot more successful if I’m comfortable with the basic concepts, having practiced a few times at the shooting range.

I figured that I’d feel a bit more PREPARED.

And that being prepared would ultimately give me a huge advantage.

Because that’s the thing about preparation. It DOES often give you a huge advantage.

And it can make a world of a difference.

Observing people, I’ve seen that there are way too many college graduates that enter the workforce completely unprepared.

However, every once in a while you’ll find a few who are prepared.

Not ENTIRELY prepared, because let’s face it…most of the time we have no idea what we’re doing.

But some graduates know better…some graduates enter new jobs with a basic understanding of work.

How to dress…

E-mail etiquette…

Professional behavior…

How to deal with people who are different

How to deal with people who are mean…

These are all concepts that I guess some people just tend to take for granted.

Because these days, most universities offer ONE HUNDRED MILLION THOUSAND courses and classes all aimed at helping college students prepare for the real world.

They’re all aimed at making sure that college graduates are successful in the workforce

And well…that’s kind of nice.

But unfortunately, a lot of people think that these sessions are stupid.

Confession: I used to be one of those people who thought the sessions were stupid.

I used to think…I’ll figure it out when I get there.

I used to think…Why waste my time in college preparing for my first real job when I have a million other things to deal with?

But the value of these courses shouldn’t be overlooked.

And if they’re offered to you for FREE, I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t take advantage of them.

Because you’ll ALWAYS learn something that you didn’t know before.

ALWAYS…as long as you’re willing to listen.

And at the end of the day, that preparation will give you a huge advantage.

That preparation will set you apart from the rest.

That preparation will ensure that you’re successful.

Because just like me and my ability to shoot a gun…you’ll be more comfortable with certain concepts if:

a. you’re familiar with them

b. you’ve practiced, and

c. you’re not caught off-guard.

So if you can, give them a shot. What do you have to lose?

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