It’s About Time: Live your values not your work

I don’t watch a lot of TV, and watch movies even less.  I have this crazy tendency to want to do way too many things, and the idea of sitting for two full hours on one task that is not in my “project” Notebook in Evernote seems like a waste of time. The other day, however, watching a movie was more of “spending time with my wife” than actually watching a movie.  As we kicked off our shoes, shut down the iPad, and I even put down my current book, Jamie found “It’s About Time” on demand.  This is a romantic comedy about a twenty something named Tim who discovers he has the power to travel back in time as himself.  While the majority of the story was a build up toward his relationship with the love of his life, another, much more profound message snuck up on us as the movie ended.  Tim discovers that even the ability to travel through time can’t fix everything and guarantee a happy and fulfilling life.  He ultimately learns to live life of purpose, being intentional to notice the things that are easy to miss; like most of life.

Smelling the roses

Smelling the roses (Photo credit: Ed.ward)

Earlier in the day, I had been frustrated, even grumpy,  that I had been unable to run my typical long run for the week.  We slept in and had a packed day of birthday celebrating for our 6-year-old.  We brought the kids along with us for a slow-paced two-mile run/walk.  In my infinite crankiness, I even murmured to myself a narrative that blamed the kids for my potential future fatness by undoing my years of running routines.  The message I discovered from “Its about Time”, reminded me of my single dad “surviving days” when a scene of a mom and dad pushing a jogging stroller along side two boys on scooters with oversized helmets, and a little girl riding a beautiful purple bike was the envious picture of perfection. Here I was, painted into the picture of everything I ever wanted, and I wanted to be somewhere else.

The downside of clarity and the intentional life can be seen in our inability to handle the vast power it gives us.
Like the nearsighted man who discovers  prescription glasses for the first time, the scene of clarity is overwhelming at first. Our perspective needs some time to adjust.  I currently have 34 live “projects” in action in Evernote.  I know, without a doubt, that I will complete everything in those folders within the time frames allotted.  The tendency is to feel “driven”, to put our heads down and be happy, even fulfilled with the ability to complete stuff.  From remembering to back up my Mac, to writing my book, I will get my stuff done. What about my values and my purpose?  If my Evernote Notebook “Values” had a note that said writing my book and back up my computer are my “values”, or even if it said “stuff”, then I would be spot on.  This, however, is not the case. My values, embraced in my Family Mission Statement center on Faith, Family Togetherness, Education, and Healthy Living.  All is not lost.  As I recently wrote, awareness is such a great gift.  Seeing our path twisting and winding is an opportunity to right the curves and even learn as we grow through the recovery.

While projects, stuff, and even people come and go, your values remain relatively constant (especially after having kids).
Be intentional about defining values and writing them down.  Anchor yourself to your values. You’ll have the confidence to find your way back to your purpose if and when you go astray.  It’s About Time, shook me  from my “life hypnosis”.  It certainly was “about time” I realized that picture perfect painting of family was only perfect because it was commissioned by my values and had me colored into the heart of it.
How will you intentionally “stop to smell the roses”?  Do something intentionally today and tomorrow.
Rocco
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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You React

Jamie and I used to fight a lot more than we do now.  Sure, Jamie is a woman, and I am a man and well, sometimes that is like water and oil, but there is something different at play here. No matter how many times you mix the water and the oil, they react the exact same way.  The water does not “adapt”, the oil does not “seek to understand”.  The water does not realize if he (or she) would just open up a little, they could create a something great together.  That’s the thing about people, we can change how we react to people.  Whether it be a romantic/spousal relationship, a professional relationship, or with your children, you get to learn from your reactions and change.  We all bring “baggage” into relationships.

Los Angeles (vicinity), California. Baggage of...

Los Angeles (vicinity), California. Baggage of Japanese-Americans evacuated from certain West coast areas under United States Army war emergency order, who have arrived at a reception center at a racetrack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divorces, past business failures, and children who repeatedly make mistakes, and much more “luggage” clutter our psyche.  It’s a challenge to check that baggage at the door and change.  We make ourselves vulnerable to “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”.  But without that vulnerability, we are doomed to fail or at the very least stop growing (which I consider failure).  Here is a list of 5 questions to ask yourself before you react to a situation.  While the cliché reminds us that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, let’s not forget the road to heaven is paved with the same stones.

 1.  How do I want the other person to feel by what I am going to do or say?  Is it Love, trust, happiness, fulfillment?  Or am I trying to “teach her a lesson” and prove that she was wrong? Do I want her to feel bad or do I want her to feel loved?
2.  Am I ok if this person doesn’t realize I fixed his/her mistake?  Sometimes a person’s mistake warrants a lesson in order for him/her to grow from it.  Sometimes, your wife simply left the dome light on in the car and you should quietly turn it off. Make it about the other person, and not your own ego.  You don’t always need “credit”.
3.  Is this something that I can learn to love, or in a business situation can I find endearing and even helpful?  Being chronically late to meetings is not an endearing professional trait.  Your wife, however chronically late because she is doing wardrobe for your 5 children most certainly is.  Choose your reactions.  Be 10 minutes late to church with a beautiful family covered in smiles, or be on time in a fit of frustration with messy hair and frowns…the choice is yours.  A co-worker may be a dreamer and you may be Mr Practical.  Find the symbiosis and make it work rather than fight.
4. What’s the upside to what I am going to say or do?  This should be a question you constantly ask yourself.  In personal relationships, it’s the key to success.  Walking into a dinner party with your wife is not the time to tell her that her blouse clashes with her pants.  What POSSIBLE good can come from that?  Asking for feedback from a colleague (or offering) at the wrong time (such as 4:59pm on a Friday) has no real upside, unless you are trying to get out of a Saturday trip to the in-laws.

Everything and every action has some inherent risk to it, make sure your “upside” is worth that risk.

5.  Am I doing this with a spirit of giving and love?  I am not always positive or optimistic in my thinking.  Sometimes I/we must check in to uncover our true motives.  If something has a hint of negativity built in the  intentions, take a break and re think your actions.
Print these questions out and try for a week.  Comment to me how your interactions change for the positive.
Rocco

 

Uniqueness Is Overrated: Authenticity vs Unique Overload

I remember the excitement of Krispey Kreme coming to my town a few years ago.  As a sales guy, I love to bring treats to my customers, and nothing sounded more “treaty” than a dozen of the finest warm donuts my corporate American Express card could by.  I was going to make a splash with my customers.  Pulling up to the drive through, waiting nearly 20 minutes for donuts, I could hardly contain myself.  As I finally picked up 8 dozen (one for each planned stop of the day), I was ready to deliver some tasty smiles to go along with my unique treat.  As the story goes, I wasn’t the only sales rep being unique that morning.  Several of my offices had piles of Krispey Kreme boxes stacked in a corner.
Unique

Unique (Photo credit: Goldmund100)

My “get unique quick” scheme didn’t work so well.
 Today. nothing has really changed.  A few years ago, someone began using the hashtag on twitter as a means to organize and monitor trends.  Facebook is following suit with hashtaging.  Everywhere you look online is hashtags. The problem is once hashtaging reaches a critical mass, it will cease to be useful.  Several hundred, maybe even several thousand references to Iphone 6 (#iphone6) can draw attention and add value to the reader, several million is just plain stupid.  If everyone is hashtaging, then no one is hashtaging.
Uniqueness has a tipping point where it becomes boring and no longer unique.

Where do we go from here?  Here’s a quick guide to help you stay authentic in an attempt to be unique (I argue that many times the attempt at uniqueness is enough if you are authentic).

1.  There are no shortcuts to being Unique.  Delivering Starbucks to the office is not unique.  There are 10 Starbucks within a few minute’s drive of my house.  Feel free to bring the coffee though.  It’s still nice.
2.  Unique is rare, don’t fuss over being unique 100% of the time.  A free Starbucks, while not unique, is still welcome.  As a nice gesture to a good customer,  a tool  to warm up a tough gatekeeper, or a pick-me-up on a rough day for your girlfriend. An authentic gesture is just as valuable as a unique one.
3.  Be infrequent in your uniqueness.  regular uniqueness is inauthentic and exhausting.
4.  Do your homework. You won’t hit a home run with every interaction you make.  Understand your audience, however, will vastly increase the impact of what your attempting.  Finding time to uncover a passion of a client, or sentiment for a girlfriend, will dramatically increase your odds for the “breathtaking” moment.
5.  Know WHY you are doing what you are doing.  Being authentic and having the appropriate motives is much more important than being “different” or unique.

Go be yourself.  You are unique in being yourself.  You are not the lightning thief, don’t worry about catching lightning in a bottle.

What is your unique “thing” you bring?
Rocco

Intentions Are Everything on the Road to Purpose

Recently I asked my boss for an opportunity to develop my leadership skills. I was given an assignment to teach a short workshop at an upcoming sales meeting. I began putting together some thoughts. Immediately I went into “impress” the boss mode. This is a ridiculous self aggrandizing exercise of compiling how much I know and finding a way to look good. The “what’s in it for them” is getting schooled by me. This misses the point. My purpose is to provide value; to do good. I was focused on looking good. Zig Ziglar said You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Unless the room is full of groopies rather than my co-workers, I have been working with the wrong intentions. This happens. You may have experienced a lapse in your purpose as I have. By our nature, we think of ourselves first. After all, no one cares more about you than you. You must leave it at that step away from your inherent nature if you live in any society that involves other human beings. You will create more influence. You need other people in order to function and succeed. You need other people on your own journey to find happiness and to live with purpose. Fortunately, I was able to discover my mistake before delivering disastrous results in front my peers. Here are a few take aways you can use to make sure you are “doing good” while “looking good”.

Bumpy Road

Bumpy Road (Photo credit: donrul)

1. Have Purpose: Back to basics. Is your success associated with influencing others to find success?
2. Stay Golden: Remember the Golden Rule? Are you leading in a way you would want to be led?
3. Find happiness in helping others succeed. Helping others bears such wonderful results. Often times, the person sharing learns as much if not more than the person being taught.
4. Be good at what you do. Intentions are nice, but if you don’t have anything to offer, you can’t help anyone.
5. Start with the end in mind. Ask WHY am I doing this. What do I hope to gain? The answer may be startle you to the core.
6. It’s never too late to refocus your intentions. A bumpy road to purpose is better than a straight road away.
How are you going to DO GOOD today?

Rocco De Leo