UA-37343676-1
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube
RSS
Facebook

Are You Really Answering The Question?

JMT1.1I haven’t written about this topic in a while but thought today would be appropriate. Today begins another week long event that happens twice a year.  The John Maxwell Team Live Certification event is like no other that I have ever been involved in.

There is huge added value for an incredible team, and of course teaching from John himself.  This will be my fifth trip to the event and I will be joining about 200 of my returning friends and colleagues.  In addition to them will be over 400 that will be attending for the first time.

I have been watching the posts over the last month reading about the excitement, anticipation and even a little bit of fear. John Maxwell has taught is that if you want to do something you’ve never done before, you need to become someone you’ve never been before. (Tweet This / Post to LinkedIn)

That’s a pretty powerful statement if you ask me.  Many of my teammates were already coaches, speakers, or trainers when they joined the team.  For many others, these are areas they may have never explored before and were simply drawn to the team because of the focus on leadership and access to John’s wealth of knowledge on the subject.

You know I love questions!  As my own level of awareness has increased over the last few years, I have become much more intrigued with the answers as well.  There are always many questions at the live training event and I want to take a look at three of the answers that cover a multitude of those questions.

YES, AND …

Life is not black and white.  It’s not yes or no either.  I have experienced the value of taking a yes or no question a step further.  Let’s face it – yes might be the right answer, but is it the best answer?  I have found that yes can almost always be followed up with “and.”  The “and” is the opportunity to add clarity.

And as far as I am concerned, we can always use more clarity.  So the next time you answer “yes” – see if putting an “and” after it can get a better answer.

IT DEPENDS

Well many times it does depend.  “It depends” is a way to force a better question.  It forces you to add some clarity in the question itself.  A better question will always result in a better answer.

Our culture has put us into an immediate gratification mindset and when you think about it, all this has done is create an environment in which we grab the first response that moves us forward.  The problem is, that sometimes that forward is in the wrong direction.  Make sure you know what it “depends on” before moving on.

JUMP, AND BUILD YOUR WINGS ON THE WAY DOWN!

I love this one.  It has all but become the mantra of the John Maxwell Team.  So many of us let fear hold us back, and not only from the things we want to do, but from the things we were meant to do.  I’m not suggesting we be irresponsible and take action without thinking first.  I’m suggesting that you think first and then take action, even when it scares you.  Like I said earlier, the only way we can do things sometimes, is to DO IT AFRAID!

Dieter Jansen, one of my teammates that I recently took through our 90 Day Success Roadmap program, posted this earlier today as he prepared to head north from Capetown, South Africa:

“Never been to a live event, never been to a think tank. I have so many questions. But being confused is OK once you get used to it. You meet such nice people along the way…”

How beautiful is that!  What a great attitude!  Isn’t amazing how things can change just from adding a little positive perspective and suspending the need to know how.  Those are the words from someone willing to step outside their comfort zone.  My prediction for Dieter … Success!

The Question:  What question did you answer recently with “yes” and yes was only the right answer?

The Challenge:  Re-visit that answer and add the “AND”

***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Join me on the STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE 12 week health transformation

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  2/17/14   image by author   © Building What Matters 2014

 

Done Isn’t Done; Sometimes It’s Just The Beginning

Barry Smith Book Cover 2When I finished my last post, I told you that I was going to jump right to the next thing on my to-do list which was the final chapter in my book.  Well, I did it.

Four sections, seventeen chapters, and almost 40,000 words.  The thought of writing a book never would have even entered my mind three years ago. And now I have done it.  I typed the last word, hit save and just looked at the screen.  What now?

Since I started blogging almost two years ago, I have looked at many more of my experiences as not just something that happened, but something to write about.  If you think about it, there is really something to be learned in almost everything that happens to us.

I spent a good part of today reflecting on my journey through this book project.  There are many different challenges I faced.  I went back and forth on the things that many authors probably do. Things like what chapter to put where and what quotes to insert for emphasis and character.  You know, author stuff.

But as I put word count and punctuation to rest for a while, I discovered that there are much bigger lessons that I learned.

It’s not over until it’s over, and it will never be over.

I felt a multitude of emotions as I looked at the screen, which for the first time in weeks, did not have a word document icon appearing in the task bar.  I felt excited that it was done.  I felt anxious because there is still quite a bit to do before it actually hits a bookshelf.  Finish the cover art, editing, interior layout and so on.  The words are written, but the project is far from over.

The thought that came next was actually quite inspirational.  This book, due to the isbn number it has been assigned, will be forever.  Well, as long as they keep track of that stuff I guess.  But that will probably be quite a while.

Our decisions and actions don’t only determine our future.

But the thing that struck me is that the content will be able to add value indefinitely. This magnified the fact that lots of things we do will last forever.  The decisions we make and the actions we take all frame what comes next.  Every single thing, even down to the smallest detail, will set a unique trajectory for our future.

Let me give you an example.  Suppose you go to the store and the checkout clerk is clearly having a bad day.  You could return the attitude or you could value the person instead of the action and show them some random act of kindness, thank them and go on your way.

Random acts of kindness really do matter!

Now that experience might be done for you, but you have no idea what a difference it might have made for them.  It might have changed the direction of their entire day, including what happens when they get home with their spouse and kids.

You don’t have to think too hard to realize my new book, Leadership by Invitation, is about leadership.  One of the most popular quotes by my mentor John Maxwell is, “Leadership is Influence, Nothing More and Nothing Less.”  (Tweet This / Post on LinkedIn)

In the book, I make a very clear case that everyone is a leader.  After all, we all influence others in some way or another, don’t we?  My point is this.  The things you do matter.  They all matter.  The thing we overlook all too often is how much they can continue to matter, even after we think we are done.  Your influence matters.  Make it count!

The Question:  How much do you think about the collateral impact of your actions?

The Challenge:  Do something today for someone that won’t matter at all to you after your done, but will make a big difference for them.
***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Join me on the STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE 12 week health transformation

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  2/14/14   image by Kendra Lynn Cagle   © Building What Matters 2014

 

The Power Of Urgency – The Time To Act Is Now

urgencyThis month in The Platform Builders mastermind group we are working our way through “The Power Of Urgency – Playing to Win with Proactive Urgency” by William Keiper.  John Maxwell teaches that the greatest gap is the gap between what we know and what we do.  I believe the Proactive Urgency that Keiper is talking about can close that gap.

As soon as I write and publish this post, I will start on the final chapter of my new book, Leaderhip by Invitation – How to RSVP and Embrace Your Role as a LEADER, that will be available in April.  I wish  I would have practiced pro-urgency a little sooner in getting by draft completed.

Procrastination, or lack of pro-urgency as I understand more clearly, has plagued me all my life. Start a project and then start a project and then, you guessed it, start another project.  But never getting any of them done.  My greatest accomplishments always seem to come when I am under the gun.

I used to think that this was a strength, and I guess it can be at times, but the truth is that pro-urgency eliminates a lot of the “unknowns” that can creep up while attempting anything.  Life happens fast, and sometimes what happens comes at us so fast we have to go on the defense just to protect our end of the field.

The recent Super Bowl was an example of a great defense resulting in victory.  But that defense was calculated, well thought out and well planned.  That defense used pro-urgency to prepare and produce.

The lack of pro-urgency results in a defense that is fighting for it’s life.  This defense is reacting instead of responding and it shows.  My experience has been that although this type of defense can function, and even function well, they forfeit the opportunity to make adjustments for the unknown and unplanned events that happen.  Basically, it limits your ability to stay in control and be flexible.

“It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action.” – Werner Erhard  (Tweet This / Post to LinkedIn)

In this, the second of three posts, I want to offer up Keiper’s thought provoking take on the idea of Proactive Urgency.  Keiper ends each of the 17 chapters with an “Urgency Rule” and I want to highlight a few to set the frame for the rest of the book.

Urgency Rule #9 – There is power, clarity and efficiency in creating and consciously attending to distinctions.  You can see what you need to see, when you need to see it.

The noise and clutter that we face everyday overwhelms our senses and numbs our ability to focus.  Pro-urgency provides the clarity to cut through all that noise because we know what we want before we need it.  That way, when the time comes that we need it, we already know what it is.

Urgency Rule #10 – The future of a moment ago has arrived.  You bring it your perfection along with your uniqueness.  Make it your mission to leverage your uniqueness starting immediately.

You should be using your uniqueness as an advantage over everyone else.  The things that make you different are exactly the things that will let you stand out in the crowd. All you need to be is 1% better or faster than the next guy to have an advantage.

Urgency Rule #11 – Security is mainly illusory.  Remember Helen Keller’s words: “Avoiding danger is typically no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”  Practice leaving your comfort zone.

If you want to do something you’ve never done before, you need to become someone you’ve never been before.  The only place you will find that is outside your comfort zone.  And the time to leave is now!

The question:  What is it that you know you need to do, but haven’t because it will require you to step outside your comfort zone?

The challenge:  STEP!

***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Join me on the STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE 12 week health transformation

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  2/12/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014

 

Effectiveness Is A Path To Results – Not Productivity

deskThis was one of those blog titles that I plugged in a few weeks ago because I thought it would be a good topic for one of my upcoming posts. As I opened up wordpress to start in on the post I had to laugh.  This is a picture of my desk at the exact moment I logged in.  Appropriate subject?  Ya Think!

I have been very transparent about my “comfort zone” when it comes to my work space.  Most of my life, I have had a million things going on, finishing very few of them in a timely manner, but feeling achievement by getting lots done.  Right?  I guess it’s a matter of perspective.  Checking 30 items off your list in one day may appear to be a huge success.  But if you had three hundred items when you started the day, maybe not so much.

Being Busy And Productive Is Not Enough

I have learned a lot about the difference between being busy and being productive over the past few years and it has helped.  In my defense, I have been working diligently on getting the draft done for my new book, Leadership by Invitation, and earlier today, I was pulling quotes from several different sources (as you can tell) but my desk still ends up like this at least once a week.  I guess old habits are hard to break.

For the most part, I have turned being busy into being productive, but with that success (if you can call it that) I have come to realize that there is a new level in achievement. That comes form moving from productivity to effectiveness.  Now you might think that these two words mean relatively the same thing.  Well, not in my world. And here is why.

Success Comes When We Move From Productive To Effective

As I have focused in on living out my purpose – “building what matters – people!” – I have realized that we can be very productive, while at the same time not be effective at all.  Huh?  In my book, I talk about strategies and vision that produce results.  These results are based upon a specific purpose.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

I can be very productive, take out the trash, wood on the fire, shovel the snow off the driveway and so on.  All of these are productive, but really don’t connect back to my purpose.  Based on my experience, many people out there are lost somewhere in this state of confusion.  They get busy with a list, over time that list grows (with many items serving other people’s purpose rather than their own) and they lose sight of what they really want to accomplish.

So what can bring clarity to all of this and help you maintain focus on fulfilling your purpose?  In a few months you will be able to read the long version when the book comes out, but here is a snapshot for you that might help you get headed in the right direction.

How To RSVP Your Way To Success

Be clear on your VISION.  What do you really want?  If you are in a leadership position, and you are, what vision are you casting to those around you?  Are you even casting a vision?

Once you identify that vision, you need to determine your role in achieving it.  That’s right, your purpose.  Identifying and understanding your PURPOSE is what brings additional clarity to the big picture and helps you to stay on task.  (Tweet This / Post to LinkedIn)

Now that you have a vision and understand your purpose in fulfilling that vision, you need a strategy to achieve that vision and fulfill your purpose.  The right STRATEGY is what keeps your work not just productive, but effective.

Now that the strategy is in place and you are casting your vision and fulfilling your purpose, take a look at the RESULTS you are getting.  If they are not what you identified within your strategy, make the necessary course corrections and stay at it.

There is a quick look at what’s coming up in much more detail, but I believe that even taking a little time right now to see how your current condition or circumstance fits into this framework, might just make a difference for you.

The Question:  Are you being productive or effective?

The Challenge:  Take a look at your activities and find something you are doing in which you can move from being not just productive, but effective.

***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Join me on the STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE 12 week health transformation

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  2/10/14   photo by author   © Building What Matters 2014

WILTW – Finding The Clarity You Need To Close The Gap

???????????????????????????????Here we are … “What I Learned This Week” Friday.  Along with the usual stuff this week, I spoke with a handful of corporate executives, attended a few webinars and participated in a few mastermind groups.  The theme this week in just about everything I did was CLARITY.

For me personally, clarity was the difference maker in my transition out of the construction industry.  I mean it’s hard enough as it is to try and stay clear and focused when you only have one job.  Going from one to another, and one that is completely different, produced a lot of fuzz in my vision for a really long time.

I think the most significant thing that was missing early on was guidance.  I was trying to do it all myself and well, you can probably guess how that turned out.  When I became part of the John Maxwell Team, I not only was connected to John himself and an incredible roster of teammates, but a mentorship team that has been invaluable in my successful transition.

One of my teammates, Kary Oberbrunner, who was coaching and mentoring in his own business took me a step further by introducing me to a framework that included an Overarching Vision, Purpose, Unifying Strategies and a Scorecard for Significance. If you want to know more about that framework, let me know, but the end result was gaining the clarity that I had been lacking that brought my world back into focus.

I said clarity was the theme this week, but it came in different forms and I offer these up to see if your world currently resonates with any of them.

I’m not sure where I am so how can I possibly know where I’m going?

You have to start somewhere, right?  Well it only makes sense to start where you’re at.  I have found that if you find yourself in this situation it’s because you’re lacking a benchmark, nothing to define your current condition.  I love the idea of starting with the end in mind.  Do you have a vision for your future?

Look, I will be honest, if you don’t know where you’re going then it doesn’t matter where you are.  Knowing where you want to go allows you to establish what the difference is between the destination and where you currently are.  A destination provides the clarity to map the course to get there.

I’m too busy to figure out where I want to go.  I can barely take care of today.

I know some of you are in this category.  I won’t pretend to minimize your current workload or responsibilities, but this I know – if you don’t know where your going, it really doesn’t matter where you end up.  If you don’t have a plan, someone else will make one for you and if you didn’t know this already, they don’t have much planned for you.

Clarity doesn’t just happen.  It comes from strategically planning out the steps you need to achieve a desired result.  And it only starts there.  Once you have that plan, you need to work it.  Clarity is the glue that holds a plan together and makes it stick!  (Tweet ThisPost to LinkedIn)

I’m not quite ready for clarity, I need to take care of a few things first.

Really?  Doesn’t that, in itself, suggest that clarity is needed?  The time for clarity is now. Remember earlier when I said BEGIN with the end in mind.  Last time I checked, the beginning is usually the first part.  My point is that the next move is your most important because it sets the stage for the rest.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need to take care of a few things before you create and implement a plan.  Those “things” should be part of your plan.  Start now with the plan you want to execute.  Be strategic and specific with every move.

My guess is that you fit into at least one of these three scenarios, maybe more.  This week I mentioned the gap between what we know and what we do.  Clarity can close that gap.

The Question:  Which of these scenarios are you currently in?

The Challenge:  Before going back to whatever it was you were doing, take just 15 minutes and come up with one action item you can take immediately to improve your current condition or circumstance.

***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Join me on the STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE 12 week health transformation

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  2/7/14   photo by author   © Building What Matters 2014

//

 

The Power Of Urgency – Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!

urgencyThis month in The Platform Builders mastermind group we are working our way through “The Power Of Urgency – Playing to Win with Proactive Urgency” by William Keiper.  John Maxwell teaches that the greatest gap is the gap between what we know and what we do.  I believe the Proactive Urgency that Keiper is talking about can close that gap.

I have to admit that, compared to the rest of the world, I have had it pretty easy during my 48+ years on this planet.  I have always had my needs met and have had more than my share of wants.  I used to take this for granted but after spending a week in Guatemala last June, I realized how blessed I have been.

As much as I appreciate my good fortune, my reflection on my life has helped me to understand that I allowed that blessing to be a crutch at the same time.  I never really felt a sense of urgency growing up.  I never got into that mental or emotional state of despair that some would consider a place of urgency.

Because of that, I have struggled to apply a sense of urgency to really, much of anything in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I have faced deadlines and situations where the pressure was on, but I always saw a path to the end.  I never realized how this was setting me up for failure.   Maybe failure is the wrong word here, but I have gone through most of my life assuming that things will simply work out and they usually did.

“We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential.” – Eric Hoffer  (Tweet This / Post to LinkedIn)

The real impact in this is that complacency and mediocrity, the status quo, became an acceptable outcome for me.  If you know me, you know that I have always had a strong work ethic and have accomplished quite a bit in my lifetime.  That being said, the idea of “Proactive Urgency” that Keiper describes in great detail was never part of my game plan and I realize now how much more I could have accomplished.  Never too late to learn, right!

In this, the first of three posts, I want to offer up Keiper’s thought provoking take on the idea of Proactive Urgency.  Keiper ends each of the 17 chapters with an “Urgency Rule” and I want to highlight a few to set the frame for the rest of the book.

Urgency Rule #1 – Proactive urgency is purposeful, insistent, committed action pursued with a passionate edge.  It is an activist choice to access your deepest personal power for the creation of almost immediate transformation.

What would be on your list of items that you are purposeful in, insistent upon and committed to?  All I can say is I need a bigger list!

Urgency Rule #4 – The world has changed.  Our long-trusted external support systems are weakening.  Self-reliance in thought and action is critical for reaching your most important objectives.

Based on current statistics, the things that we could once depend on – work, family, education and religion are becoming diluted in today’s cyber-world.  Unfortunately, our ability to find strength in those items is becoming more difficult.  These were once the foundation of our existence and now they have become, for many, simply things that fit in when we have time.

Urgency Rule #6 – Choosing to act with on-demand urgency yields continuous, incremental advantages.  Think of pro-urgency as your edge in a competition – your life where winning by fractions always matters.

It’s true, the difference between winning and losing or success and failure in often found in the minor details.  The smallest of details do matter.  Just ask an Olympic swimmer or downhill racer.  A sense of urgency might just give you the advantage that makes the difference.

The question: Who do you know that displays this “Proactive Urgency” in their life that has resulted in success?

The challenge:  Go talk to them and find out how they use it and how you can apply the same principles in your life.

***********************************************************************

Click here to get a copy of my Kindle Book “The Manifesto Of An Influential Leader”

Join me on the STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE 12 week health transformation

Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith  2/5/14   photo courtesy of amazon   © Building What Matters 2014