Leadership Lessons—Being in the Moment

I don’t think that I’ve ever been that good at “being in the moment.” Mary Kay has helped me with this. This is, however, something that a leader must become very good at and is a learning process for me. This past weekend I set out to prove to myself that I can actually do this.
Five years ago, I learned something that I need to do better as a dad. At my men’s group, we discussed the importance of a father to have special times, at least once a year, with their grown sons. I took this to heart and started a yearly event with my two sons and my son-in-law. We go for a golf weekend – 36 holes on Thursday, 18 on Friday, 36 on Saturday and 18 more on Sunday before everyone flies home. Amid the golf, I try to impart important life lessons to them.

Even though I use vacation time, I’ve tried to get up early each morning and do an hour’s worth of work so I could keep up with all of the incoming e-mails and other issues that come up. This year, however, I went cold turkey – I focused solely on my sons and our weekend. I’ll head into the office on Monday with 160+ emails and who knows what else. More importantly, however, I know that I’m getting better at leading because I stayed kept my focus on my boys and nothing else.

I heard the great speaker, Walter Bond, cite the difference between “connecting vs. communicating.” I know I’ve been guilty of getting the two confused and thinking that I’m actually connecting when I’m simply attempting to communicate.

You know the difference, don’t you? It’s when your wife/husband/significant other yells something to you in the bathroom while you’re getting ready for work and they think they actually connected with you. Later, when you tell them that you didn’t know whatever-it-was-they-told-you they say “I told you earlier this morning while you were getting ready for work, remember?”

Of course, you say you don’t because the two of you DIDN’T connect—it was simply a one-way communication. I know this happens to me often. I’ll be deep in thought on a project and someone will stick their head in my office and tell me something (thinking they’ve communicated with me). Later, I won’t remember anything they said because we really didn’t connect.

For me, this past weekend was about being in the moment and really connecting—not wasting a memory. I won’t see the boys again until Christmas . . . or even later. Looking back over the past few days, I think I’m finally understanding why being in the moment is so important.

Life is about great memories, so look around your own life. Do you find yourself trying to juggle a dozen balls at the same time and feeling that you are doing a poor job of it? An example for all of you was on the Ed Sullivan show. Remember the guy who had about a dozen plates spinning on a pole and he went from one pole to the other trying to keep them spinning? If he doesn’t get to the pole soon enough, the plate will crash to the ground.

This is how I’ve felt in the past when I focused on everything except what I should have been. The plates were all likely to crash.

This week, work on being in the moment. Connect, don’t just communicate. Try this at home and work. I’m sure someone will notice the change it you. You’ll be a better leader because of it.

Oh, and about golf . . . it has to be easier become a good leader than good golfer!

Leadership Lessons—Hangin’ with the Beav

I had the opportunity, once again this year, to attend the Secret Knock. This is an invitation-only conference with about 225 attendees in San Diego.

One of the guests was Jerry Mathers—“Beaver” from Leave it to Beaver. He is 67 year old now and one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met. Apparently, the show has aired every day, somewhere in the world, since 1957.

Secret Knock is the brain child of Greg Reid. He has written over 50 motivational books in the past 12 years. Two of my favorites are “Three Feet from Gold” and “Stickability.”

Some of the people who were interviewed at the event are:

  • Jeff Hoffman—Inventor of Priceline.com;
  • Jonah White—Inventor of the Billy Bob Teeth (one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met in my life!);
  • Harry Paul—co-author of “FISH”;
  • Ron Klein—Innovator and inventor of the magnetic strip on the back of credit cards;
  • Rueben Gonzales—Attended four different Olympics for the U.S. in the luge competition, his last one at age 47;
  • Sharon Lechter—co-author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”;
  • Rob Angel—Inventor if Pictionary;
  • Dave Farrow—In the Guinness Book of World Records for memorizing 59 shuffled decks of cards (in a row);
  • Ezra Frech—The most amazing 10 year old you will ever see. Just YouTube him – “Ezra on Ellen”;
  • Brian Smith—Inventor of Ugg boots;
  • Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey—Creators of Barefoot Wine;
  • John Gray—Author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”; and
  • Wayne Nelson—Lead singer from Little River Band who sang several of their hits.
  • Imagine spending two and a half days with people like this! I took nearly 20 pages of notes. This week I want to share several of them that, I believe, have to do with becoming a better leader.
  • It is all about belief and desire. Belief gets you started. Desire keeps you going.
  • Life is about “Dream, Struggle, then Victory.” Most people quit during the struggle stage.
  • Don’t fear failure—fear apathy.
  • Excellence comes from focusing on one thing at a time—not juggling and trying to handle everything. Find people who are better and smarter than you … then hire them.
  • What are you doing to leave a legacy?
  • Hardships make for experiences. Welcome the hardships and know that you will succeed.
  • You are the same today as you will be in five years except for the people you meet and books you read.
  • If you can dream it—you can do it. If you don’t love it—don’t do it! If you won’t own it—don’t do it.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate your wins.
  • Collaboration is how we succeed.
  • You are a reflection of the people you hang out with.
  • The easiest way to hit a goal is to have a goal.
  • You’ve got to give back.
  • If you feel guilty about being successful and making a great living—get over it!
  • Have mentors—the best way to walk through a mine field is by stepping in someone else’s footsteps.
  • Have a clear picture of what you want to do. Emotionalize it and have others hold you accountable.
  • Don’t follow your passion. Follow opportunities passionately.

And this is just the first 10 pages. It was a good reminder that we owe it to ourselves to be the best leaders we can be. It doesn’t come naturally. You now have 17 statements you can read every day to start your day. Have an amazing week.