Reading is a Waste Of Time

Running circles

Running circles (Photo credit: Dave-a-roni (Dark Spot Photography))

I love to read a good book.  In fact, I love to read a bad book.  That’s my problem.  While reading is a key element to finding success, done without purpose it can waste your time and kill your dream.  In fact, doing anything unintentionally has that danger. Living an intentional life toward success involves purposeful actions.  It also involves creating.  This is what Seth Godin calls “shipping”. It may be written content or it may be widgets.  What your shipping doesn’t matter, ship something.  When I discovered that I have something awesome to ship, I was shocked to realize how much time I was wasting consuming.  When we are consuming, we are providing for someone else’s dream.  Certainly some consumption is necessary for survival, and some is directly relevant for our own dreams (i.e., motivation, inspiration, facts, and ideas).  We are all provided, free of charge, an allotment of 24 hours each day.  I heard once that Alaska gets 24.5 but I cannot verify that. When we consume too much,  as in my case, reading, we are wasting time we could be using to create (our ultimate purpose).  My high school economics teacher called that the “opportunity cost”.  For me reading is relaxing and fulfilling.  It is also a distraction.  Remember Steven Pressfeld’s resistance.  Reading has become “covert resistance”. The resistance has taken over something that is clearly an element of my personal growth and turned it into a distraction.  My goal is not a goal to read, reading is a tool to achieve my goal of being the best person I can be. As covert resistance,  It is a distraction taking away from the real work. I am currently reading Tim Feriss’s hit book The Four Hour Work Week.  He shares insights on information overload and reads only fiction before bed to relax him.  I chooses to be very specific with what he puts in his head. That’s not for me.  What I did learn from him is that we need to be purposeful about the things we are doing.

If a certain task you are doing do not specially fulfill an objective or goals of yours,  STOP!

As a solution, I’ve decided to get more intentional toward my reading.  Instead of a blanket goal of reading 30 books in 2014, I am going to specify that these books are motivating me to create, inspiring me to be a better person, teaching a specific skill I need and want, or are entertaining fiction for my periodic fiction break. I’m also going to stop reading each books once it provides me with enough value.  You may be seeing the resistance put a sneak attack on you.  Over focus on running, writing too many blogs and not working on your book, over booking appointments, are examples.  Be aware and remain intentional.

What are you doing to be more intentional doing the things you love?
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Don’t be afraid to take charge: 5 Steps for preparing to lead

Movies can move the human spirit.  Scenes such as the speech in Miracle where Kirt Russell plays Coach Brooks addressing his 1980 Olympic Hockey team before the game of their lives move and inspire.  Who can forget Al Pacino inspiring his football team to fight and claw toward victory? And of course, Mel Gibson as William Wallace inspiring an outnumbered army to fight for freedom.    These scenes, and many more like them have a common thread.  These speeches were given by men who faced whatever fear they had and took charge.  Most of us won’t be leading Scottland toward war and freedom.  We do, however, lead our companies, our teams, and our homes toward success…or failure.

Last July I was summons to Jury Duty. Click here to read the leadership lessons I learned from this experience.  I was selected and voted unanimously as the foreperson. It was hardly an electoral victory, as no one else wanted to do it. Why is it that when real life kicks in, so many people take a step back rather than a step forward?
Leader Of The Pack

Leader Of The Pack (Photo credit: Property#1)

It is a lack of knowledge and preparation  holding many would-be leaders from emerging.

Whether you plan on overtly leading a team (such as being a CEO or manager) or leading from within (a peer leader or project leader), you must prepare yourself.  Here is list of five things to consider as you begin to prepare:
1.  Be The Industry Expert.  What is happening in and around your company, companion companies and competitors.  This is so important.  If you aren’t in tune with what matters most to your company, market, and industry, how can you add value?
2.  Stay up to date on what’s happening in the world.  Last year’s horrific Boston Marathon bombing was all that anyone talked about for well over a week.  ObammaCare, Fiscal Cliff, or Dancing with the Stars.  Whatever is big to your customers and to those you lead is an opportunity to connect.  Don’t forget to be sincere.  No need to binge on 50 episodes of Breaking Bad before your next meeting, but find common ground and stay in tune.  Also, world events are very real, and impact many people beyond just the work place.
3.  Read diverse material.  I have met many people who are shocked that I read 30-40 books per year.  Many people tell me they don’t like to read or they don’t have the time.  That is ridiculous.  Audible has a 15$/month membership where you get one book per month, and the library is free (minus my mounting late fees).  Listen while you drive or excersise.  Don’t just read, read diverse topics.  I read about sports, business, faith, biographies, and many other topics.  Not only are you smarter, you are more interesting as you read more.
4.  Network.  This is another “no kidding” mention.  It’s imperative that you reach out to colloegues in and around your industry.  All to often we are locked in our little silo.  Some perspective of the outside world keeps reality a lot closer.
5.  Practice.  Whether you are in sales pitching products all day long, management, observing these pitches, or executive leadership developing strategy, you must be intentional in finding time to practice in a safe environment.  My organization usually takes us out of the field 3 or 4 times per year to practice our messaging and strategy.  Make sure you are doing this.
Leadership is not easy, but its necessary for success.  Whether you are a bona fide “titled” leader or someone who leads through action on a project basis, fear not.  You are on a quest for to find your awesomeness.  Be intentional in all of these areas and you will grow in you leadership and your success.
Challenge:  Go to your local library and get a free library card and check out 2 books and start reading.

What’s the Deal With this Twitter Thing?

So what’s all the buzz about this Twitter thing anyway?  After all, it’s just the shortened Sit-Com version of Facebook.  Just another place to comment on the spinach fritatta you want your friends to think you ate for breakfast when in fact you had a stack of pancakes, sausage, and a blueberry muffin.  Forget sharing the truth, this is the Internet! Truth is so Analog!  Ok, so really, what is the point of Twitter?  I have been active on Twitter for an entire month, and I am a quick study.  While I am not prepared to tell the HOW of Twitter today, I am going to tell you the WHAT and the WHY.

Washington DC: Smithsonian Castle - Pile of Loot

Washington DC: Smithsonian Castle – Pile of Loot (Photo credit: wallyg)

You must be on and active on Twitter.  Whenever I meet a high level executive or have interviewed for jobs, I always ask what the person reads.  This says a lot about the person.  Do they read?  What type of material do they read that influences their thinking? In a Pre-Twitter world, knowing what they are reading at that particular time was all I could capture.  It’s important to read what people you wish to emulate and/or learn from are reading.  It simply makes sense.  Twitter gives you that option.  I love to read and hope to be a published author in the near future. Surprise, surprise, a blogger hoping to publish a book! Guy Kawasaki is extremely active sharing what he reads on Twitter. He’s not sharing other twitter feeds like “he look my neighbor planted roses last weekend”.  He’s reading piles of articles a day.  He filters out the ones he deems valuable to share, and shares them.  Simple.  Multiply that by however many people you follow.  I am always impressed by Rush Limbaugh‘s “stack of stuff” he refers to everyday on his show.  I attempted to compile a “stack of stuff” once.  I spilled coffee on 10 articles that would never have been read and was over that. I am not Rush Limbaugh or Guy Kawasaki.  I can, however, participate in the what goes into their minds.  Before Twitter, I would have had to go through Rush’s garbage to see what magazines he was reading.  Guy Kawasaki has 2 big and hungry dogs, so I was never able to go through his trash.  I can “follow” authors like Dave Ramsey, Mark Sanborn and Glen Beck.  These are people  I enjoy and from whom I have a lot to learn.
Ok, now you ask, what’s this cost me?  It costs you what you want to get out of it.  I know that sounds dangerously like that guy who wanted you to sell life insurance in the 90s.  The new cost of entry in the twitersphere is “engagement”.  This is what we as bloggers (I’m yet to have much) are seeking.  Followers are nice, but people who stick around and engage through comments are the high value targets.  They make this twitter thing fun, and can also support those providing monetized value (i.e., books, seminars, etc). I share this blog 2-4 times a week on Twitter.  I also re-tweet or share tweets several times per day.  Most of the tweets I enjoy are links to well written articles read by people I follow reading authors I NEVER would have found on my own.  In essence, Twitter provides me a FREE knowledge staff.  Twitter is my think tank. Thanks Twitter!
Share with me your favorite Twitter personalities. You can admit if it’s Kim Kardashian.  I’ll laugh, but I’ll probably follow you on twitter.

Rocco De Leo