Mark Sanborn talks about the essential nature of making time to think so that we might learn and gain insight from our experiences. He lists some areas we should be thinking about so that we might get the most out of our time reflecting. James Strock , speaker, consultant and entrepreneur:. T here is nothing more important—or more easily overlooked—than making time for disciplined reflection.
Indeed, it should be scheduled—and protected and enforced—with the utmost seriousness. Religious traditions include notions of a Sabbath, a day of rest and reflection. Winston Churchill was active as a painter, speaker, historian, and commentator on current events. Many enterprises—from Google and GE to sports teams—encourage regular meditation or related mental exercises. To the extent each day can be seen as a sort of lifetime in itself, meditation or prayer can also be viewed as a sabbatical of sorts.
In my personal experience, travel can be invaluable. You may see familiar notions with new eyes. In the 21st century, information and data are often ubiquitous. The value added by leaders—either in high positions or not—increasingly arises from those invaluable intangibles: judgment and insight. Both of those are more likely to be found with disciplined reflection. Mark Sanborn , author and speaker:. S omeone once said if we don't slow down occasionally nothing good can ever catch us.
I think that sentiment applies to the good that can come out of reflection. One of the reasons we don't learn—truly internalize lessons—and keep making similar mistakes is that we don't pause long enough to gain any insights. Most of the busy and successful professionals I work with—and myself included—can go for long periods of time without actively thinking.
We reactively think—response to questions, problems, opportunities, etc. I frequently say that nobody has time for anything; we make time for what is important. So often we live life by default and let circumstance and the demands of others determine how we spend our time. I believe we need to make time for reflection. We make time when we priorities, eliminate and adjust our schedules. What they are accomplishing versus how busy they are. What they have learned. Leaders need to extract lessons from both the positive and negative things that happen.
How they are feeling. Leaders can't divorce their intellect from their emotions and succeed over the long run. Relationships that need attention. Their vision of the future, for their organizations, those they lead and themselves. And for leaders who believe in the spiritual realm, as I do, that is a critical area for reflection prayer and meditation in the Christian tradition I follow. Reflection usually requires "getting away" whether that requires a physical relocation to a peaceful thinking spot or simply blocking time to avoid interruptions.
And finally, I think those leaders who value reflection and benefit most from it make it a regular part of their schedules. There is a hierarchy of communication we all practice, in which electronic and immediate data responses reign far above in-person and more time-intensive, dialogue-driven interaction. The trade-off is easy to make: we gain speed, immediate connection, and reactions while giving up richer contexts that emerge only when we take time to think.
There are times when the arrival of each new electronic message or data-driven distraction has become a digital proxy for the sound of a bell once used by a doctor named Pavlov. In part two of this series, Tom Asacker philosophizes about the nature of reflection. His insights help us to understand that until we start to see our connection to reality, core changes rarely happen.
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Have we given the proper consideration to the impact of what we do? Then, Brian Orchard emphasizes the need to slow down enough to absorb what we are experiencing. He talks about the need to take a second look to gain understanding and the importance of getting counsel in decision making. Tom Asacker , author, speaker and professional catalyst:.
To an outsider, it may look like idleness. Our work should be designed to move us forward, toward a worthy ideal, meaning, and a better life. But in order to get there, we must occasionally pause from its narcotic effect and critically evaluate its impact on our happiness and well-being, and its resulting influence on our community and environment.
We must sit quietly and reflect. Reflection is not daydreaming. Is this the best that I can do? Will people be advanced by my efforts? Will my children be proud of my actions? Yes, there is boldness in action. But we must follow action with quiet reflection for that boldness to remain relevant and vibrant. Imaginative reflection breaks the powerful grasp of inertia—the desire to stay the course regardless of the impact on our lives—and moves us courageously towards our higher potential.
Brian Orchard, pastor:.
Mentally, we're in perpetual locomotion. From my experience as a minister, I have found that an issue is rarely understood well by the first exposure to it. Our first response is usually weighted by whoever presented the issue. It takes time and thought to slowly come to a more complete understanding. The value of reflection in this case allows for a deeper understanding to be obtained by thinking about the issue and allowing it to be seen from a number of angles.
There are two biblical principles that to me, support reflection. The second is simply the whole idea of seeking counsel. This must mean a certain amount of reflection and counsel has a strong bearing on decision making. Devaluing reflection while expecting constant growth and innovation is nonsensical. Are we spending our time on the right issues? Are we delegating issues we should not be working on that could be better dealt with more locally in the organization? Kotter also stresses its importance as a continual learning tool.
John Baldoni urges us to make the time to reflect to gain perspective. He reframes reflection as an action step, not a passive process. John Kotter , Harvard professor, author and consultant:. I n a world that is moving faster and faster, and changing more and in larger leaps, learning becomes a gigantic issue. Doing what you know is not enough. And learning cannot come in a classroom once every 2 years. Learning has to be an ongoing process, literally all the time. People learn in many ways. Reading really good books can help.
Talking to really good people can help. I did X. It produced Z. But is Z what we really need? And why did X create Z? And what were the other alternatives? And can I find others in books, discussions, HBS that tried those other alternatives? Obviously, self awareness makes this easier. One can be both action oriented and reflective. Action oriented means when you know what to do and you do it. Not next quarter.
Correctable too. And since leaders have the capacity to help or hurt us all a great deal, everything I have said here is very important in their case. John Baldoni , leadership consultant, coach, author and speaker:. R eflection is a powerful tool for leaders, and one that is much underused.
The chief reason is perceived lack of time.
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I remember asking the late Skip LeFauvre, the man who ran Saturn, how he found time for it. He said, "Put it on your schedule. Reflection is a means of gaining perspective. It challenges you to think where you are now and where you might want to go. How to get there is a good thing to consider during reflection. Reflection may be perceived as a passive process, i. In reality, reflection is an action step. You are thinking. That can be rigorous in its methodology. Reflection can also come through the writing process, i.
Thinking of reflection as an active process makes it more palatable to leaders who by nature are doers; they like to be engaged in activities. Reflection can be one of them. While reflection seems to have no place in a competitive business environment, it is where meaning is created, behaviors are regulated, values are refined, assumptions are challenged, intuition is accessed, and where we learn about who we are.
Some of the greatest barriers to getting the results we want lie within us. Growth happens when we stop repeating our habitual patterns and behaviors and begin to see things in a new way and in the process, discover the power to create the results we want. The best decisions, insights, ideas, and outcomes result when we take sufficient time to think and reflect…. Only by carving out think time and reflection can we actually understand, in an entirely different context, the actions we take.
It forces the consideration of core significant and pending decisions, outside of cursory overviews and immediate response…. Reflection is the deliberate act of stepping back from daily habits and routines without looming and immediate deadline pressures , either alone or within small and sequestered groups. Even if we can agree on the value of think time, we still regard it as a luxury.
It is at the core of what allows a business to thrive. Reflection in effect expands our perspectives and thus reveals to us more options and that gets to the heart of what leadership is all about. The point is to make the unseen seen so we can act on it. We wind up shuttered in our ability to think about possibilities. Recognizing the need for reflection and actually doing it are two different things. Reflection is a discipline. Forrester suggests that we set time aside for a meeting with oneself. The power of reflection lies in how we choose to use that time and what structure we bring to the fleeting disjointed moments we are afforded.
Some organizations he has studied have adopted a no internal e-mail Friday policy and other ways to temporarily disconnect from technology. Although these ideas may not work for you, the point is made so that you might consider the impact these technologies are having on the productivity and well-being of your staff. There is always one more e-mail and it will control you if you let it. Leaders need to understand and demonstrate by example that reflection—taking time to consider—is not wasted time. Reflection is the first step in coming to understand how we are connected to our outcomes.
Until we see the relationship between the two, we cannot make deep, lasting change and bring thoughtful behaviors to bear on the situations we find ourselves in. Our thinking creates our reality. If we do not reflect on our thinking we stand to miss our connection to the whole. Consider offers a way to break the pattern of continuous partial attention that seems to be our default position in this technological age. It helps to disrupt the habitual thinking that drowns out the reflective, critical thinking we need to become fully present and effective.
It is the bedrock of successful leadership and living. Upcoming: I asked some leading minds about the discipline of reflection. How will you introduce pause into your leadership? STOP To start, you must stop. CUT Eliminate : Every yes contains a no. Do You Need an Attitude Adjustment? To some, this comes naturally. Others must constantly work on it. Since my earliest memory, I have had the sense that anything worth doing… worth pursuing… must be passionately pursued.
A positive attitude naturally follows. I found myself first assuming leadership responsibilities at age 14 when I became an Eagle Scout. For me, getting there was just a mountain to climb.
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It was the culmination of 21 merit badges and a large community project. It was the excitement of the journey, the arrival at a destination, and the achievement of the reward. For me, at 14 years old, it was like reaching the top of Mount Everest but with no real thought or plan on how I was going to get back down… the part of the climb where most people die.
But it did help jump-start a lifelong journey to develop and sharpen my leadership skills—a journey that really never ends. Great leaders constantly deal with the struggle between achieving personal goals, while doing so with humility. In high school, I held leadership roles in school government and on the sports field. My agreement sealed my fate. All these experiences helped shape my thinking about, and commitment to, leadership because people started to turn to me to lead.
I had the right attitude throughout these early years. However, there came a period in college when I lost my way. My attendance at Purdue was facilitated by an Army ROTC scholarship, at a time when the Vietnam War was stoking nationwide protests across nearly every college campus. Compared to other campuses, Purdue was a fairly conservative school, but we had a chapter of the Students for Democratic Society SDS , and they regularly protested the war on the mall or at the Armory.
I had mixed feelings about the war when I arrived at Purdue in , having spent most of my high school years in Europe—insulated from the anti-war movement. But since I had an ROTC scholarship and my dad was retiring from the Air Force and starting law school about the same time I entered college, I felt an obligation to stay in a program that was paying my way. I also worked 4 hours each evening Monday - Friday as a janitor, cleaning the second floor of the university library to help make ends meet.
Then an unfortunate event happened. Just walking across campus in uniform to attend military drills drew unwanted attention. So, when the annual Army ROTC awards ceremony occurred in the spring of my freshman year , and knowing that I was not an award recipient, I decided to skip the ceremony and attend the SDS rally in the mall instead. I followed the crowd. Upon arriving at the armory, they broke open the large truck-sized doors and entered, chanting loud and strong.
State troopers in riot gear soon arrived to keep the protesters away from the formation of cadets. He called me in the following morning and told me that my scholarship was being put on probation. This was a wakeup call for me, and it began the reshaping of my attitude. I had to decide which side to be on. I came to realize that I wanted to be a leader more than a protestor. Like some other Americans, I may have thought that the Vietnam War was ill-advised, but I also realized that there were alternative ways to make my mark on the world.
When ROTC summer camp training rolled around between my junior and senior year, I spent nine weeks at Fort Riley and did well enough to become the third ranking cadet at Purdue during my senior year. Upon graduation from Purdue in , I was one of six cadets designated a Distinguished Military Graduate. So, what should you take from this ROTC experience? In a nutshell: attitude counts. A lot. You need building blocks to realize that dream.
During those early years at Purdue—at least as it applied to an Army career—I lacked ambition, a good self-awareness, and perseverance. I then adjusted my attitude, and a 4-year commitment turned into a year career. Consider, for example, all the other concepts that courage connects to in workplace settings. Innovation takes courage because it requires creating ideas that are ground-breaking and tradition-defying; great ideas always start out as blasphemy! And sales always take courage because it requires knocking on the doors of prospects over and over in the face of rejection.
Having a way of categorizing courageous behavior allows you to pinpoint the exact type of courage that each individual worker may be most in need of building. TRY Courage is the courage of action. It is the courage of initiative. TRY Courage requires you to exert energy in order to overcome inertia. You experience your TRY Courage whenever you must attempt something for the very first time, as when you cross over a threshold that other people may have already crossed over. First attempts; for example, the first time you lead an important strategic initiative for the company.
Pioneering efforts, such as leading an initiative that your organization has never done before. Taking action.
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All courage buckets come with a risk, and the risk is what causes people to avoid behaving with courage. The risk associated with TRY Courage is that your courageous actions may harm you, and, perhaps more importantly, other people. If you act on the risk and wipe out, not only are you likely to be hurt, but you could also potentially harm those around you.
It is the risk of harming yourself or others that most commonly causes people to avoid exercising their TRY Courage. TRUST Courage is very hard for people who tend to be controlling and those who have been burned by trusting people in the past. Following the lead of others, such as letting a direct report facilitate your meeting. Presuming positive intentions and giving team members the benefit of the doubt. By trusting others, you open yourself up to the possibility of your trust being misused.
Thus, many people, especially those who have been betrayed in the past, find offering people trust very difficult. For them, entrusting others is an act of courage. TELL Courage is what is needed to tell the truth, regardless of how difficult that truth may be for others to hear. It is the courage to not bite your tongue when you feel strongly about something. TELL Courage requires independence of thought. The courage of TELL is associated with: Speaking up and asserting yourself when you feel strongly about an issue.
Using constructive confrontation, such as providing difficult feedback to a peer, direct report, or boss. Courage is Contagious Understanding and influencing courageous behavior requires that you be well versed in the different ways that people behave when their courage is activated. By acting in a way that demonstrates these different types of courage, and by fostering an environment that encourages them, you can make your company culture a courageous one where employees innovate and grow both personally and professionally.
The only questions are what and how much. Poor choices lead you into failure, and good choices take you out of failure. Nobody likes failure. We are lead to believe that failure means that there is something wrong with us. Failure simply represents a challenge; not something to avoid.
We crave certainty, and that feeds our fears. But your purpose will compel you to keep going, adapt, and grow. Rowling, David Neeleman, and other well-known and not so well-known individuals, but he includes his own experiences that give it depth and credibility. Fail More will help you to work past your fears, the obstacles, set realistic goals, and learn from every result.
Success is a process, and failure is part of that process. Failure gives you the critical feedback you need to make the necessary adjustments to bring you closer to your goal. Life serves adversity as a barrier to entry in the pursuit of happiness.. Look within as you work to create value for people by first becoming of value to yourself.. Enjoy the fruits of your labor while you are engaged in their pursuit. Failing more is trying more. The greatest point of growth occurs right below your limit. Be one of those people that works right up to their edge of comfort.
We all start at a place where we need to improve if we are going to succeed on a more significant scale. When you seek out uncertainty, you are opening your mind to possibility. Procrastination, lack of prioritization, and the absence of goals all have their origins in fear. In order to get what you want, you have to do those things that give you the confidence to do just a little bit more the next day. In December , John F. Jefferson dined here alone. A year before his death, he was asked by a father to give some counsel to his young son, Thomas Jefferson Smith. He responded with a letter that began: Monticello Feb.
Th: Jefferson to Th: Jefferson Smith. The letter concluded with ten rules to live by Jefferson titled A Decalogue of Canons for observation in practical life : Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself. Never spend your money before you have it. Never buy a what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold. We never repent of having eaten too little. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened! Take things always by their smooth handle. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred. The complete letter can be found on the National Archives website. Leadership and life are built on relationships. Despite any talent or education you may have, your ability to work with and influence others is what will set you apart. Your Purpose Why am I here? You are not a victim.
A specific purpose helps you also to align your actions to the purpose of others and your organization. It is nearly impossible to make good life choices with no self-awareness. A good place to get self-awareness is to watch the behavior of others. Often the behaviors that irritate you are mirrors of your own life. Social-Awareness How do you impact others? Before you interact with others, begin by asking what is the desired result based on who I am, my purpose, and who I want to be?
We have an impact on everyone we meet. How do others perceive us? Is that our intent? Does it align with our purpose? The other part of the Conscious Success Model is how we differentiate ourselves. We have to be more proactive, more deliberate and consciously aware. This is conscious success. How am I presenting myself to others? Am I having the impact I really want to make? This, of course, speaks to having a healthy self-awareness.
Each of these differentiators as negative and a positive side. Either side will get you noticed. Avoid the side that will get you noticed for the wrong reasons. We mostly lack authenticity because we are trying to be what people want us to be in order to be accepted or popular. We are inauthentic to cover up for our insecurities. Authenticity leads to trust. Consistency matters. It might seem unrealistic to do this but deciding to be percent responsible forces you to move forward.
Blaming and justifying limits options and percent to zero percent responsibility expands options. Ask questions with the intent of clarifying your understanding. Differentiator 4: Articulate for Impact Closely related to differentiator 3 on listening is articulation. Have a good vocabulary. Before you speak, consider your emotional state. Also, think about what your purpose is and what you are trying to convey.
You can have a sense of humor, but it must be consistent with your image and what it is you want to accomplish. Gratitude is a choice we make each and every day. Having an attitude of gratitude gives you a positive outlook which makes you more attractive to others. It takes commitment, focus, and a force of will. The Conscious Success Model provides a useful framework for not only differentiating yourself but creating a life that matters.
The 9 Dimensions of Conscious Success is a great tool to put into the hands of anyone starting out in life. The first law is often referred to as the Law of Inertia. The law states that every object will remain at rest or continue in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.
In other words, things stay the way they are unless something comes along to disrupt them. This law has the power to make us or break us. And it is at work in our lives all day, every day whether we are conscious of it or not. When we kick a soccer ball, it heads in a specific direction until it is acted upon by a force greater than the force that is currently propelling it downfield.
Like that soccer ball, our life is moving along a path that is taking us to a particular future intentionally or not. And we will continue along that path to its destination until we do something different. Our intentions mean nothing. In other words, our will be just like our unless we exert a force to change our direction that is greater than comfort we enjoy by continuing to do what we have always done producing the same results again and again.
No force, no change. Get on a new path. New actions will produce different results. For every cause, there is an effect. Today is connected to tomorrow. Every action we take and everything we say is taking us somewhere. We just need to be sure we are on the path that is taking us where we want to go; a path that is taking us to the person we want to become. If we work harder than we did last year, then we will do better. If we sacrifice now, then we are investing in our future. If we reflect, then we will grow. If we improve our leadership, then people will follow us. If we are courageous, then we will inspire.
If we are curious, then we will learn. If we avoid the trappings of power, then we will stay connected with those we serve. If we surround ourselves with the right people, then we will be enriched and will lift others up. If we are authentic and humble, then we will build trust. If we work this law to our advantage, then we will eradicate regret. If we don't improve, then our circumstances won't improve either. Life naturally pushes us off-course and takes us on tangents. Anything meaningful in life is produced by moving upstream — against the current.
We need to make some course corrections. We all do from time to time. Of course, this implies getting uncomfortable. As we look at our life, we all have directions that need to be changed. It helps to begin this process by asking ourselves questions and giving serious and honest thought to the answers. What habits are holding me back? What three things do I want to accomplish by ? What does a good day look like? What routines keep me on track? Why do I do what I do? And most importantly, what am I grateful for?
Then drill down into specific areas of your life: Do I make time to study and grow spiritually? What habits are draining my time and attention? What activities replenish me? Am I taking time to relax and grow in other areas of interest? Am I sleep deprived? Am I eating healthy and avoiding processed foods? What do I need to change in my diet in ? Am I exercising regularly?
Am I drinking enough water? Is my morning and evening routine setting me up for my best day? Am I living within my means? Fully half of white evangelicals believe Trump would make a good or great president, according to the Pew Research Center. That support is creating an identity crisis for the traditional Christian right, which has historically prized conservative policies above all.
They want them to be successful. Until now, this kind of evangelicalism has had little power in national politics. Trump does not need the come-to-Jesus conversion long required of American politicians to have the ideal testimony for prosperity believers. Like the popular preacher, he developed a following. He founded Trump University, with motivational speakers as professors. Theologically, the belief that God wants people to be rich is controversial.
It began with a group of early 20th-century disenfranchised black preachers, and then gained strength through the decades with the rise of Pentecostalism and as televangelism became a moneymaker. A new, loose coalition of prosperity-minded preachers has been quietly uniting for Trump behind the scenes.
When Trump was considering a presidential run, White gathered a group of about 40 pastors to meet with him. In September, White invited several dozen prominent preachers to pray for Trump again at Trump Tower, including many Pentecostal preachers. Their reasons for supporting Trump are varied.
The more mainstream pastor Jentezen Franklin, who leads a 16,member congregation in Georgia and an international television ministry that reaches millions of people, says he sees his peers with large media ministries speaking out for the first time politically, especially for a candidate who can be pro-Israel, pro-life, and who can empower the middle class. The reach of such independent pastors is expansive, if often difficult to calculate. You've earned it! Here are quotes on the value of labor that will strengthen your resolve, and hopefully lighten your load:.
It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. That's the only way to keep the roads clear. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. Idleness warps the mind. The rest of us just get up and go to work. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.