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How many people do you know that take pictures or videos of everything?  Are you one of those people?

I have seen this a lot and vow to not be one of those people.  I am not saying not to take pictures or video, but rather keep it to a minimum.  Many people spend their time trying to capture things as they happen so they can look back and remember the past.  What does that make you focus on in your life if you have all of these memories captured?  It makes you focus more on the past.

My goal is to focus on the present and the future but still learn from the past.

If you don’t worry about capturing things on photo or video and just live in the moment your life will be much more rewarding.  Instead of worrying about getting the video camera or digital camera out you are present.  How many times do you actually end up watching those movies anyway?  Instead of trying to preserve memories start making memories by being present and looking to the future.  Think about the time spent sorting through pictures making scrapbooks or editing video.  If instead you would use that time to spend with your family how much more rewarding wouldn’t that be?

When your focus is ahead you can see the endless possibilities.  When your focus is behind all your thinking about what was and might have been.

Leaders don’t lead through fancy talk.  They lead through consistent action.  Most great leaders aren’t brilliant or the top of their class.  In fact most leaders learned how to lead in school already.  They didn’t lead in school because they had some position such as student body president.  They probably led a little tribe within the school.  As they got older they learned how to lead better and moved on to bigger things.

Leaders know that you don’t have to be great at everything.  You just need to be a lot better at a few little things than anybody else. 

People don’t wake up one day and say: “I think I am going to be a leader today.”  And then everyone starts following. 

That is not how it happens.

Leaders are people who stick their neck out on things and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in.  Once they get a few wins and gain confidence with others through consistency they are on the path to being a leader.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in a field.  Leadership is no different except it might take double to really be effective.  Why do I say that?  I think your path to leadership should be about 10,000 hours so you can figure out how to be a great leader.  And your next 10,000 hours as a leader lets you learn from failures and victories so you can truly become an effective leader.  No, you won’t be effective if you don’t look back on a regular basis and learn from your mistakes. 

Do you want to be Ordinary or Extraordinary?

The key is being CONSISTENT especially in your learning from failures and mistakes.

What a crazy phrase!  I was frustrated with myself the other day and how my days were turning out.  I stopped doing the things I had worked so hard to keep myself disciplined to keep doing. 

I decided enjoyment came before discipline.

How far from the truth I was.  Discipline on the front end will lead toward a lot of enjoyment on the back end.  If you keep yourself disciplined you will get more done but also have a lot more time to have enjoyment in other things.  You will also have a lot of enjoyment in the thing you have disciplined yourself in.  No one in their right mind likes to run.  But after a while of being disciplined and running you start to see results and it starts to be enjoyable.  Not many people go out and say I want to run for fun then after weeks of running for fun they start to get disciplined.  That just doesn’t happen.

I don’t want to say stick to a routine.  Routine is a word that to me screams boring and stuck in their ways.  I would rather say stick to a framework.  Set aside certain chunks of time at certain parts of the day to work on specific things. 

For instance if you are in a retail sales job you should get most of your office computer work done right away in the morning along with communicating with employees.  This will free you up to have more time for your customers throughout the day. 

When you discipline yourself early and often then later on you can have a lot more enjoyment.  Enjoyment firsts leads to a lot of regret later.

Matt at What’s Best Next had these Five Questions in a recent post:

  1. What will be the center of my life?
  2. What will be the character of my life?
  3. What will be the contribution of my life?
  4. What will be the communication of my life?
  5. What will be the community of my life?

These questions made me start to ponder what I want my life to look like.  Much of my life has been spent just going from one thing to the next without really looking ahead and doing some planning. 

Here are some questions I am asking myself about what I want the end of my life to look like:

  • What do I want people to say about me at my funeral?  Do I want them to say he knew how to make money or that he cared for others?  I think I know what I want to be said about me.
  • What legacy do I want to leave for others to carry on?  Who am I going to invest my life in to make this place better: my kids, coworkers, others I come in contact with.
  • Do I wish I would have worked less or more?  Think about what you want out of life and if you want to invest more time in your work or in other things.

Take some time to think about what you want out of life.  Many times we go through life without really thinking because we are so busy.

“Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is NOT being creative. The creative person has harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every word he puts down, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.”

                             – Bill Bernbach, Advertising Legend

I took this quote from Branding Strategy Insider by Derrick Daye.

I love this quote and how we have “Fake” creative people around us pegged as “Real.”  Anyone can come up with many different ideas and keep throwing them around.  The “Real” creative ones are the ones that can put their thoughts and ideas into action.  They can take an idea, refine it, and then implement it from start to finish.  There are not too many people I know who are truly creative.  There are many wanna-be’s who you would probably categorize as dreamers.  I know I am a recovering one of them.  I thought that if I just kept thinking of new ideas that was good enough and I was creative.  But until I started implementing them the creativity finally came to fruition.

Creativity is not as glorious as the word sounds.  It should actually be a less glamorous word because creativity is actually work.  And to leave you with a quote by Oscar Wilde:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.”

People have this unrealistic expectation of what creativity is and don’t want to or feel like putting the time in.  Are you going to be a “Real” creative, or just another “fake” creative like the rest of them.

Distractions and disruptions are a part of life.  They both can change things.  This is how I define the two

Distractions: Little things that can change your routine and be a small bump in your road.  These things if not kept in check can ruin an otherwise productive day.  On the other hand they can help to make your realize what is going on around you.

Disruptions: Major things that would change not only your day but your life.  Such as having a baby.  I have just realized this one.  Disruptions force you to change your way of thinking and how you do things.

Both of these can become positive if you view them that way. 

How can Distractions become Positive?

  • Cause you to rethink your routine.
  • Makes you realize other things are important.
  • Most likely causes you to work on relationships rather than things.
  • Keep you on your toes

How can Disruptions become Positive?

  • Makes you prioritize things in your life.
  • Makes you value your time more.
  • Helps to make you slow down on some things and speed up on others.
  • May make you change some things you previously viewed as unchangeable.

Have Disruptions and Distractions been positive in the long run for you? 

Why after awhile do we start relaxing, getting lazy, and forget what got us to where we are?  Do we think we have arrived?

It is so easy to go and go for a goal and then when you finally reach it you take it for granted and lose it.  You work for something and once you accomplish it you forget about it.  When I was in college I remember an experience that relates well to this.  I was on the JV basketball team.  I was probably the 3rd guy off the bench and played around 8 minutes a game.  I wanted to play more so I decided to play defense as hard as I could.  Pressure my guy, get in passing lanes, and do all of the little things.  Once my minutes started going up I stopped doing the little things and all of the sudden my minutes went drastically down.  At the time I blamed it on other things but looking back I realized I became complacent.

How you keep from being complacent?

  • Don’t forget where you came from:  Don’t forget how far you have come and what you had before.
  • Keep pushing yourself: Try new things all the time don’t settle into such a routine. 
  • Stay Focused: Stay focused on your main objectives and don’t go on bunny trails all the time.
  • Do the Little Things well: Don’t stop doing the little things that got you where you are.  Keep doing them but keep doing them better than before.

Complacency is easy to get into after working really hard.  Enjoy successes but don’t make success an excuse to stop improving.

Just read a great post on Frustration with People Talking about Balance on The Personal Growth Map blog.

I am so tired of people telling me I need more balance in my life.  You need to do more of this and less of that.  I don’t live my life that way.  Everything in my life is intertwined.  I cannot separate one from the other.  While I am at work I do most of my work but it is not like I just shut off my brain from work when I am done.  I don’t just think about God on Sunday’s at church.  It is through my whole week, not just on Sunday’s.

Do you feel like your unbalanced?

Balance is a word that is over used this day and age.  Balance is great in a diet but not so great in other areas.  If you are balanced at work that means you are using your weaknesses the same amount as your strengths.  We all know that people are more effective when they focus more on their strengths.

How to Unbalance Your Life:

  1. Tell people to stop using the word “balance” around you.
  2. Figure out what you love to do.
  3. Figure out what drains you.
  4. Do more of what you love to do.
  5. Delegate More of what you hate to do.
  6. Stop Segmenting your life into home and work.
  7. Be consistent everywhere you are.
  8. Give your best in everything and that should balance everything out.

One of the words of advice I heard from someone once was:

In your 20’s you think everyone is talking about you.
In your 30’s you think people are talking about you but you don’t care.
And in your 40’s you realize no one was ever talking about you.

Sometimes we are so concerned with what people are going to say about us when most people really don’t even notice.  Why don’t we quit worrying so much about what people are saying about us and just do what we are supposed to do.

10% of life is what happens to you and 90% is how you react to it.
Think about it.  If you are worrying about what others think you are being even more unproductive.  I have learned lately that you cannot control what others think.  They are going to think how they want to think no matter what.  
What to do?
  • Tune out the distractions around you and have laser focus.
  • Pick a couple of people to give you feedback on what you should be doing.
  • For a day keep track of how much time you spend worrying about what others might think and worrying in general
  • Kick so much butt that others can’t help but talk about you.
  • If you do have success act like Marvin Harrison and give the ball to the ref and act like you have been there before.  Don’t act like Terrell Owens.
  • Be Yourself