Every now and then a story comes along that blows me away. This one definitely counts.
On a related note, I received an email this week with the following quote in the signature line:
Anyone who works with others and says, “That’s not my job,” doesn’t know what their job is.
In September of 2010 I decided to stop marketing myself as a speaker in order to spend more time with my family. As a result I now rarely have keynotes that are open to the public, but I’ve got one coming up.
So here’s the info:
Be the Hero:
Overcome any challenge and perform at your best
Where: Office* Trade Show and Conference
When: Wednesday, May 30
If you are in the neighborhood, I’d love to see you there.
What’s your biggest challenge right now? Maybe it’s something that feels figured out, but it’s still a mountain of work. Is there truly no better way to attack the problem?
People like to ask the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” This is used as an instructional question with the follow up answer, “One bite at a time.”
But what if that isn’t really the answer? What if that is just a cute saying to encourage you to slog through your work? What if there are more creative solutions?
Maybe the way to eat an elephant is to first figure out refrigeration. Or find a hungry village. Or to dry it like jerky. Or to use lots of garlic. Or make it the secret ingredient on the next Iron Chef. Or to not eat it at all because elephants respect their dead and are the only species other than humans that have death rituals.
Maybe it’s time to take another look at that big challenge. Maybe there is another way.
Integrity is important. No one likes having their integrity challenged. And so we find it distasteful to “be fake” or somehow act in a way that isn’t who we are.
But who we are in the end is a result of how we choose to act. We are the only ones who get to define ourselves. And so if we want to define ourselves in a new way, that’s not disingenuous. That’s change.
Take someone who is a miserable morning person. If they drink coffee to perk themselves up we don’t consider that disingenuous or fake. It’s just smart – and appreciated.
Striving to be more energized or enthusiastic or calmer or toned down or less eager or more talkative or less talkative isn’t choosing to be fake. It’s choosing to be better. It’s you 2.0, the next generation. It’s an indication of maturity that you should be willing to grow.
“I don’t want to be fake,” is a convenient excuse for accepting a characteristic that holds you back. Don’t allow yourself that. If it’s important, if it will help you, if you want it, redefine yourself. Be a performer. Before you know it, it won’t be a performance anymore. It will be the new you.
Who intimidates you? Or makes you nervous? Or causes you to speak less? Or shy away?
Is it your boss? The CEO? A big prospect?
Chances are you’ve become dazzled by their title or by some fact about them. They have position or money or fame or something. But who cares? You have something they’ll never have – your own experience.
The cliches for getting over intimidation seem to deal with clothes. Imagine them naked. They put their pants on one leg at a time.
I prefer to go the other route – blind yourself. Be blind to their title or money or power or fame. Who cares? If you’re in the room with them, you’re there for a reason. Trust that you belong. Speak up. Contribute. Your job is to provide what you can. Their responsibility is to take it or leave it.
But if you allow yourself to be silent from intimidation or otherwise, then you assure you won’t add value. You assure you won’t be remembered. You assure you won’t be invited back.
So be blind and be yourself and speak up. And only if that fails, imagine them naked.
Most people say they want to exercise (or at least want the benefits of exercise). Most people also struggle to match their actions with their intentions. Here are my top ideas for starting and sticking with an exercise routine.
- Get a partner. Nothing will help you more. Find someone who wants to exercise with the same regularity and intensity as you. For extra credit, make it a group of three or four. And don’t let each other off the hook when someone misses a day.
- Schedule it. Put it on your calendar. Treat it like it is just as important as that staff meeting you have on Wednesdays.
- Start small. Exercise for 5 minutes. There are no excuses for not spending 5 minutes exercising. Once 5 minutes is routine you can build from there.
- Make it part of your life. Get a dog. Park at the far end of every parking lot. Park a mile away from work instead of right by the front door. Go for an electronics free after dinner walk with your child, spouse, significant other, neighbor and talk to each other.
There are lots of other ways to get exercise into your life. These are some of my favorites. What about you? What do you do to start and stick to your exercise routine?
There are different kinds of heroes. Some are superheroes and have powers that only exist in movies and comic books. Some are idols who are given hero status because of the professions they chose.
There are accidental heroes who happen upon their heroic deeds, like the Miracle on the Hudson pilot Captain Sullenberger or the NY Subway hero Wesley Autrey. I don’t mean that their actions were accidental, but the fact that they were in that place at that time was not intentional.
So what about the rest of us?
We all have the opportunity to be Everyday Heroes – people who stand opposite those who fall into victim mode. There are three simple ways to do this (simple in concept, difficult in action).
- Seek to discover and understand others’ challenges instead of how you may be experiencing pain or difficulty.
- Seek to recognize that which is positive in your life, that for which you can be grateful and focus your attention on these things.
- Seek to find what you can do, what action you can take in even the most challenging or overwhelming situation, and choose to take some positive action.
Inherent in being an everyday hero is that you are active. You seek that which keeps you in a positive, heroic state. This doesn’t happen by accident (though it is more natural for some). We can all choose to be more heroic in these ways.
And who are the Everyday Heroes who do these things? They are the people who lift up those with whom they come in contact. They are the ones who move us out of shock and into solution mode when our jobs or families or lives are thrown into crisis. They are the ones who confront even the hardest personal challenges with a strength and gratitude that inspires the rest of us.
We can all be that hero, the Everyday Hero.