As I was driving into work today, I turned off the radio and just drove in silence. But it wasn’t quiet.
In the stillness of the cab of my truck, I could hear the voices. Not the crazy voices. The ones that form the the messages that flow out of my thoughts. They all masquerade behind the sound of my own voice in my head. The intensity and tone of these messages vary. Some are reflective, instructive, and encouraging. Others are discouraging, negative, and accusing. Each type of message, carried by my own voice, vies for attention.
I guess this is why people turn their radios up so loud while they’re driving. They are trying to drown out the voices.
There’s a long held belief that the crazy people of the world are the ones who have the voices in their head. But when you think about it, hearing the voices has nothing to do with one’s sanity. It’s what you do with those voices. It’s our response to those voices. It’s the way we process the voices that creep into our consciousness that determines just how much craziness we choose to live with. It’s not a question about whether or not we hear our own voice in our head…we all do.
The question we have to wrestle with is this: How we will respond to the messages our thoughts send our way?
While the whole “tough pill to swallow” thing is a bit cliche’, we can’t deny certain realities – even when we want to deny or ignore them. There are lessons life has to teach us. If we struggle to learn the lessons early on, we will find them coming back around again and again. I’ve identified ten lessons that seem to show up in my life every now and then. These are my “pills.”
We are in the process of electing/selecting our group of student leaders for next year. We call them “student leaders” because they will fill the various leadership roles we have identified on our campus. These include positions in student government, resident assistants, peer mentors, etc.
Each of these roles have some authority (with a lot of responsibility) built into them. One of my tasks is to help each student leader learn to exert his or her influence among peers and followers in a way that goes beyond the initial authority that’s inherent in each position. I can’t express this enough: Your peers will follow your leadership with greater loyalty when they want to, rather than when they have to.
At this early stage of their student leadership year, I think it’s so important to talk about motive. Asking questions like:
Why did you want to serve in this student leadership position?
What are you hoping to achieve for those whom you lead?
What kind of reward do you want to get out of this experience?
If you are one of those people who was recently elected or selected for a student leadership position…Congratulations! Now it’s time to evaluate your motives as a student leader. Your motives will go a long way in helping you to be the kind of leader that others want to follow…rather than have to follow.
If you were to drop by my office right now, you would see stacks of books that have been given to me for review purposes. It’s become apparent that if you have a fairly successful blog and have written your own books, people are happy to share their work with you. It’s the new marketing machine of publishing.
I will often share a tool, resource, or book that I have found helpful in my own journey. Some of the best books I’ve read have been brought to my attention through the recommendation of others. Every once in awhile, just the right book will be offered for me to preview and it seems to show up at just the right time in my life. This is a post about THAT book.
I was given a copy of Richie Norton’s book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid. It had endorsements from people I respect. People like Seth Godin, Andy Andrews, Steve Forbes, & Stephen M.R. Covey. I was intrigued by the title and the fact that Norton had written this book with his wife. Something told me that there was a story within these pages that I needed to hear. Chapter One of the book confirmed my curiosity.
When I’m standing in front of a room full of people and talk about the importance of leading yourself well, everyone typically nods their heads.
They nod for a couple of reasons:
1. They know they need to lead themselves well.
2. They know someone who hasn’t led him or herself well.
Affirmative nods are one thing. Affirmative action (not the kind you’re thinking of) is another. Knowing you have to lead yourself well is not enough. You and I need to use this knowledge to guide the actions required to lead ourselves well. It’s a matter of right belief fueling right behavior. If the actions aren’t there, it doesn’t matter what you believe or know.
A Note To My Readers: You may have noticed I took a six month hiatus from blogging on my site. The biggest reason is mentioned in this post. If you’re one of my subscribers and committed readers, I’m grateful for your attention. I will begin to add more content to the site in the days and weeks ahead.
I love comeback stories. They share the journey of someone who had tasted success and rose to the top of his or her game. But somewhere along the way this person encountered a tragedy. Perhaps it was an injury, or a poor decision, or a crisis beyond his or her control. But the story doesn’t end there. Out of that difficulty this person got up off the floor and worked even harder to get back on top.
I think we all love a comeback story because it describes what’s best about the human spirit. It helps us to see that a person may be defeated…but doesn’t have to stay defeated. Whether or not the comeback story ends with someone hoisting a trophy or winning the election or standing on a podium doesn’t really matter all that much. What matters is we get to observe someone who is pursuing a dream that wouldn’t die. We watch someone who is willing to work even harder to pursue what he or she is passionate about.
This is a guest post by Dennis N.T. Perkins, Author of Into the Storm: Lessons in Teamwork from the Treacherous Sydney to Hobart Ocean Race
Imagine navigating a tiny boat through a sudden, violent storm at sea — with winds roaring at nearly 100 mph and waves soaring to 80 feet — to not only survive, but triumph over formidable competitors in one of the world’s toughest ocean races. It’s a feat claimed by the crew of the AFR Midnight Rambler, overall winner of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart — the most treacherous and tragic race to date in the six-decade history of Australia’s iconic competition.
As Dennis Perkins, an expert on thriving under daunting conditions, shows in his new book, INTO THE STORM (AMACOM) it’s also a feat rich in lessons for anyone tasked with maintaining smooth, effective teamwork — and delivering winning results — in the unpredictable, turbulent waters of today’s business environment.
Inspired by the Ramblers — the Midnight Rambler‘s team of one determined skipper and six dedicated amateur sailors — here are five crucial strategies, with proven tactics, for Teamwork at The Edge of human endurance: