"If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"There is someone out there with less intelligence, who started with less money, with less opportunity and passion than you who is living their dreams. The difference is they found their "why", their purpose, their vision. There is nothing more powerful than a human being with purpose, goals, and dreams. When you find yours write it down, read it often, digest it, and make it part of you."
From now on, tell yourself, "I will achieve my dreams regardless of my circumstances. Nothing will stop me. No matter the circumstances, I will not be beat. I will be fearless!"
Live, work, play, and build relationships with a sense of purpose. Until we, and our teams, find our "why", our singularity of purpose, we are predestined for mediocrity in the workplace. What role do you feel we play in instilling this mindset, and how might we begin doing so?
Contentedness. Familiarity. Comfort. Compliance.
We live in a world that values contentedness, mediocrity, and a "good enough" approach to life. We strive for average, even when we know we are capable of so much more. We allow handicaps to become our god and our failures to become our story. We allow the weak to rule, and the strong to be silenced. We call risk takers foolhardy and depict the "slow and steady" as wise. Those who dance to their own tune we label as misfits, while those who are happy with a mundane existence revolving around the start and end time of a shift as normal, stable, and "productive" members of society.
Or, do we? Do we honestly value these weak human traits, or is this a defense mechanism to be able to stomach the reflection of mediocrity as we shave in preparation for our daily trudge through our "good enough" existence? As children, we push, we drive, we strive to make the team, and we don't give up no matter how large the obstacle - until we learn the satisfaction and safety of self-deprecation. We watch the Superbowl, the NBA Finals, the World Series, and hang on every word Lebron says, but we do so from the comfort of our recliners. Our failures are muted by others' successes, but if we were true to ourselves we'd realize Lebron, Gates, and Trump would likely not watch a program to hear us speak. We have given up, but our heroes drive forward - refusing to take no for an answer, be content, take comfort in familiarity and balk at compliance. We live vicariously because we know what we were created to do. We were made in His image not to sit idly by and allow the mediocrity of life to dictate our choices, but to rise up and not only grow into, but expand, our potential.
Hunger. Drive. Determination. Heart. To be successful, we must replace our contentedness with drive to provide the vision and passion needed to push our teams on to greatness. Keep pushing. Keep driving. Know that today is the day to make the change!
If you do what is EASY in life, life WILL be hard...If you do what is hard first, life WILL be EASY!
Very likely, we've all been there. We've interviewed a candidate, proceeded with more than a bit of caution, and then found out that this person quickly grew into our best employee. Maybe it was her age, his shyness, her nontraditional look, or a simple lack of self-esteem that we initially questioned. And, it makes sense. The survivalist in all of us is quick to judge, quick to condemn, and quick to pounce when we are confronted with a person we perceive as weaker, less talented, or less socially adept. With all of our progressive views and insight we still have a tendency to respond emotionally, acting as though we are no more understanding or enlightened than the Neanderthal who came before us - swinging a club when confronted with something we don't understand. We are survivors. And survivors must have prey. However, survivors, if we are to truly evolve and thrive, must also learn from others' perspectives, vicariously, from our environment, our mistakes, and certainly when our emotions betray us. We must allow ourselves to allow others to enlighten us, grow our hearts, and liberate our inhibitions.
Allow me to introduce Donald Gould of Sarasota, Florida. Please take a moment to listen and ask yourself, "Would I have prejudged? Would I have offered an ear? Would I have allowed myself to allow him the time to show me what he is capable of and to see past his hardened exterior to learn about his heart, his story, and his desire for belongingness? We all have a place and want a home. The extension of grace. The growth of the heart.
"When he was younger, Gould played clarinet for the Marine Corps. After his service, he attended college in Michigan to study music education but ran out of money before he could finish. He worked other jobs and started a family, however his life changed when his wife died in 1998. Gould turned to substance abuse eventually losing his son to social services." Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/homeless-man-sarasota-keys-piano-project_n_7707814.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592
As we move forward and continue to make decisions that affect both our organization and community, please don't forget Mr. Gould and the lesson he shares. Given the right tools, the right support, the patience to allow for understanding, and the extension of grace to allow for our differences, greatness is possible.