I recall people saying my father’s aspirations were too grandiose. And, it’s not hard to recall because, even today, 7 years after his passing, there are some who still say it. While I do agree that he had big dreams, as I work to bring my dreams to life, I can’t say they were “too” big. I don’t believe dreams can be too big. Now, sure, they can be poorly executed. We can try to skip necessary steps in the process (which usually leads to us missing a lesson that we will need down the road). But I don’t believe in dreaming too big anymore. As a matter of fact, it’s not illogical to believe that you can do anything. Do you want to know why? Because others have pushed the envelope of where humanity can go and those people are no more or less valuable to the world than you are.
From now on, I’m done thinking first class is as far as I’m going to get. I’m shooting for having the option to purchase the new BBJ777X. And it’s not all about the money or the status. It’s about not selling yourself short. Having the option is just that: an option. And I know it is one I can attain. But, to get there, I must take the steps: coach to business class to first class to 777X. There’s no elevator to the mansion in the sky (though there may be on one it).
It’s not about the plane. Or the cars or the houses or the trips. It’s about the journey that gets you to the point that you appreciate it. Set the goal but plan the steps as well.
Make embracing the process a priority.
Tomorrow is it. It’s our opportunity to correct a tremendous blemish on this nation’s record. Whether we’re looking at legislative powers or impeachment and removal, tomorrow can be a turning point for America or it can continue down the same path it’s been on for centuries: One seeped in bigotry, hatred, and white patriarchy that is masked as progressive freedom.
Have you voted? If not, it’s ok. You still have a chance. If so, have you encouraged anyone else to? Cool. Well, encourage someone else.
Do I believe the process is flawed? Yes. But will not participating fix it? No. Participate and then, when it fails you, fight.
Make voting a priority.
E-mail can be a beast during a regular hour/day/week, depending on how busy you are. So imagine being away for 2 months with no connection except during the hours you’re either in your Airbnb or at some coffee shop that has complimentary WiFi. iMessages stack up but I’m at a point in life where I’m more apt to look for e-mails from clients, recruiters, and professionals who want to connect and make magic happen. And let’s not forget the awesome newsletters I get daily and actually try to skim (there is some valuable and inspiring content in those things!). Then there are the junk e-mails I signed up for to get free stuff. Before you know it, my inbox is overflowing and it’s only been 36 hours since my last thorough purging.
So, how do I combat this? Well, first, I go through and DELETE the junk that I know I’m not going to need. It’ll just take up valuable space (y’all know you can run out of free Google space) and I know I’m never going to want to reference the expirational“BOGO 🍔” from a favorite chain at home. And the “70% off Swimming Trunks For the First Day of Summer” from my go to inexpensive retailer? I’ll pass (this time). You get the gist.
After digitally tossing the useless stuff, I archive the daily newsletters that are more than a day old (but I keep those from the last 24 hours incase I need to something fresh to read). I may actually go back and peruse them sometime but it’s going to be when I’m either on a plane/train or searching my mail for something specific and that newsletter just happens to relate. (By the way, Instapaper is the way to go if you identify an article you want to read at another time. Thank me later.)
Lastly, I meticulously go through and try to respond within 24 business hours* to those e-mails that actually look like they’re either:
A) from a loved one;
B) Going to add immediate value to my life;
or C) Require a timely response.
I really suggest that, if you’re on an actual computer, you save time by selecting all unread e-mails and moving through the bulk stages (deletion and archival) that way, in that order. Then pick through the important ones. My goal, when all is said and done, is to keep the inbox with 15 or fewer e-mails after each purge. I’ve been hanging around 20 or 25 this trip but there’s no time like the present to fix that.
How do you manage e-mails when you’re away? Any additional tips? Let me know in the comments.
Make keeping a clean(er) inbox a priority.
*Just because you see an e-mail doesn’t mean
you must respond right away. Take time if you
need to (and can) to craft an appropriate response.
Welcome back! I’ve taken about 5 weeks off. My apologies. I started a new role recently and walked in to a huge project but, now that that’s done, I can get back to bringing you all great content five days a week.
Last week, I saw an amazing film. Definitely a classic that rivals the likes of “Boyz n the Hood” and “Menace II Society.” You might have heard of it; it’s called “Straight Outta Compton.” It is about the revolutionary gangsta rap group N.W.A. Like I said, great film. I even ended up coming to work with my black snapback and shades on (of course I took them off upon walking in the building but I still walked through the building with that Ice Cube swagger).
Anyway, I’m going to tie that film into what I took from church yesterday. My pastor titled his sermon “Straight Outta Nazareth” and, of course, he was talking about Jesus Christ, who was raised in Nazareth. One point that the pastor hit in the sermon was that there is a difference between a change and a transformation. A change can be a superficial aesthetic adjustment. But a transformation takes root on the inside and works its way out. Now I want to tie that into your professional development: You can change your clothes. Now you’re in the office looking like the CEO. But you still work as the front desk receptionist. And there is nothing wrong with that. But that change doesn’t reflect a substantial difference in your professional life. It just means you’ll look pretty good while you tell people that the CEO works upstairs in the corner office. Or let’s say you want to revamp your business. You can hire a graphic designer to develop a new logo for you that looks amazing. And you can raise your prices to match the best in the business. But if you don’t work to perfect your process at developing your project or service, you will have just changed your business and not transformed it.
So start at the root. That means read. That means write. That means find someone who does what you do better than you do it and learn from them. Believe me, if you transform your level of understanding, eventually, the change in wardrobe and office will come.
Good morning. Once again, it’s Friday Eve and here we are with another Trending Thursday post. This past week I’ve read quite a few quality professional development pieces. So many that it was hard deciding which ones to share but I finally narrowed it down to my favorite 5 (Ok, it’s really 8 but 5 sounds better). I hope these provide some good thought and dialouge as you share them with your coworkers, family, and friends. Have a great weekend!
By the way, please pray for Nelson Mandela and his family. Even though I believe in miracles, it looks like we might lose one of the greatest leaders of our and our parents’ lifetimes in the near future.
I cannot speak for the thought process of previous generations but I know that, in this day and age, we are surrounded by a culture of “I want it and I want it now.” Being that that is what we want, but isn’t always the reality, we have to work hard to offset that way of thinking. When I’m at work, I have to find ways to politely tell customers to have some patience. When I’m speaking with my financial advisor, he always says don’t expect a sudden windfall of financial fortune. Even when I read my Bible, I have to tell myself, “This might not be for you to understand right now.” Things take time. Everything in life is a process, from birth to death. Things have to happen in a certain preordained order that none of us have control over. Christ didn’t even change the world to the fullest extent at His birth. He had to be born, live, work miracles, die, and then rise again in order to have the impact He has.
But I digress. To pull it back to the importance of event over process, I will leave you all with a section from John C. Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. In the chapter “The Law of Process,” Maxwell shares with us two similar but very distinct lists on the importance of an event and that of a process. I definitely recommend anyone who is serious about taking another step in leadership read this book (get the revised edition).
An event encourages decisions, motivates people, is a calendar issue, challenges people, and is easy.
A process encourages development, matures people, is a culture issue, changes people, and is difficult.
Even in these two lists, one took me more time to type out because it has more characters. And that is exactly what a process does: it builds character.