Mark Sanborn is a great speaker. One of the best. He’s also a great writer. That’s why I try to read everything he writes. If you want a sample of some of his insights, I encourage you to subscribe to his blog.
Reading through his latest book, Up, Down, Or Sideways is like sitting across the table from a dear friend who has nothing but your best interests at heart. Mark shares about a recent period in his life where it seemed that his difficulties compounded one on top of the other. He knows what it’s like to face crisis personally and professionally. Yet the beauty of this book is the simple reminders about the best ways we can respond in the midst of these difficult situations. He calls them, the “good shoulds.”
Is this book worth reading? Absolutely. I read the whole thing in one sitting. Yup…it’s that helpful.
We are entering the season of selection and election. It’s time to start filling the roles and responsibilities of next year’s student leadership team. This is such an important time. I encourage my current student leaders to take time to find and raise up the next generation of leaders. It will be part of their legacy (what they leave, when they leave). Finding the right kind of student leader requires looking for the right thing.
One of the first steps toward student leadership is involvement. Involvement shows everyone else that you want to be there, that you want to be a part of what’s going on. Look around for someone who is excited about being involved. It’s difficult to make the jump into leadership from the sidelines. I consider involvement to be the initiation into influence.
Personal growth doesn’t occur naturally. You must be intentional with it. You can leverage your experiences from the past, learning from mistakes and building on your successes. But looking back is only part of the process. A better way to measure and motivate personal growth is to plan for it. This is the planning ahead option.
Planning ahead is like the windshield. When you’re driving, you stare through the windshield while only glancing at the rear view mirror. You will only move forward in your personal growth to the extent you plan for it and implement that plan. Since you’re the one responsible for your growth, you need to create a plan and then follow it.
Leaders can’t take an interest in growing others if they choose to take an intermission in growing themselves.
Growing old doesn’t take a lot of work. You can grow old without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, maturity doesn’t come with birthdays.
Learning doesn’t happen naturally like aging. Learning takes work. The disciplined kind of work we’ve been talking about. People want to follow someone who is self-disciplined, not someone who is self-destructive. This is why leaders must be learners.
Consider what motivates you to learn and grow. Growing up, you were forced to learn in school. Teachers and tests made us learn something. Some of us did better with books, others with hands-on interaction. Some subjects sparked our interest. In others, we muddled through, hoping for a passing grade. In school, much of the motivation to learn comes from outside ourselves – from our teachers. Some teachers are better motivators than others. But there comes a point when you realize that you are the one who is ultimately responsible for your learning. It’s not a question of having teachers, it’s a matter of being teachable.
Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval write the following in their book, The Power of Nice,
A Yale University School of Management study found that cheerfulness and warmth spread far more quickly through an office than irritability and depression. The best way to spread these good feelings? With a big toothy smile, the most contagious gesture of all.
There’s something powerful about a smile.
I’ve even created an acrostic for the word smile: Small Movement In Lip Encouragement!
If you’ve got a minute, then hit play to find out this week’s tip to increase your influence.
Let’s start this post off with a little dose of reality: every person gets criticized.
Just let that simmer for a moment. Every…person…gets…criticized. Once you understand that, once you realize that you are included in this group known as “every person,” it may help you to deal with criticism properly when it comes your way.
I realize the title of this post is deceiving. You cannot choose who criticizes you or what people criticize you about. You don’t have any control over when and where criticism occurs. If that’s where you spend all of your energy, then you’re going to run out of energy quickly. The only thing you have control over is your response to criticism. You get to make some choices. You get to decide how you will handle criticism rather than allowing the criticism to handle you.
Your world is full of people who have a different opinion, a different approach, and a different perspective than your own. That’s a good thing…right up until the moment when they feel empowered to share how their opinion is wiser than yours, their approach is better than yours, or their perspective is more valuable than yours. Or at the very least, they may just point out where you’re wrong without ever offering why they might be right.
“Just because you’re at the front of the line, it doesn’t mean you’re the leader.”
We’ve all seen a locomotive. It typically sits at the front of a long line of railroad cars. The locomotive is crucial because it has all the power. That power is used to pull all of the other cars down the track. When this happens, we call it a train.
You may or may not be familiar with “The Loco-motion.” The Loco-motion is a dance. But before it was a dance it was a song. According to Wikipedia…
“The Loco-Motion” is a 1962 pop song written by American songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The song is notable for appearing in the American Top 5 three times – each time in a different decade: for Little Eva in 1962 (U.S. #1); for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 (U.S. #1); and for Kylie Minogue in 1988 (U.S. #3).
Here is a YouTube video of the song being performed by Grand Funk Railroad. 70’s Warning!: There’s a reason why these guys use the words grand and funk in their name.