Tag: Get Moving

Setting a World Record

Right now, I have friends working on setting two world records. The Two Eagles Balloon Team has launched a helium balloon in Saga, Japan headed for North America to break the distance and duration records in gas ballooning that were set more than 30 years ago. It is a very cool adventure and worth tracking to see how it turns out. What has been really impressive is how many people around the world are tuned in and want to help out. Ballooning is already a pretty close-knit group, and it is still impressive to me. So, why do people rally around something like this?

Do Something Big

I think people like to help out on projects that are big. Bigger than they have ever done, or may ever do. It is very unlikely I will ever attempt or hold a world record at anything. That is OK with me. It is a great privilege for me to work with people who are doing big things. In fact, although I don’t really do much, it is still a great ego boost to say, “I helped with that.”

The same is true of our workplace; people like to join something big. As you lead your organization, is your vision big enough to rally the troops and get them fired up?

Leading is Lonely

We often hear that leadership is lonely. As we blaze a trail into the unknown, we feel like we are on our own. I think that is true when we have a really big vision. It is big because nobody has done it before. If we wanted to feel comfortable we would join the masses and do something mundane.

However, I think the loneliness can also come when we shrink from that big hairy audacious goal and pick something easier. If you are feeling lonely, I suggest two things.

  • Gather a Tribe. There are others like you trying to change the world. Find those folks and gather a tribe to support each other. Even if you are in different parts of the world, relating challenges with peers can bring great comfort, support, and insight. In fact, we think this is so important for church leaders that we started a whole section of our company dedicated to Tribes.
  • Get a Bigger Vision. While leading the pack is genuinely lonely at times, you should also expect people to come out of the woodwork and ask to join. I am getting calls and emails every day from people who want to support this balloon flight. If you are not getting that support, consider that your vision isn’t big enough. Is it really amazing enough for people to pause and reflect, then ask to join?

Your Next Move

Go do something big. It is ok to be afraid and second guess the path; and do it anyway. If you are feeling all alone on this adventure, then make sure you are really doing something big enough to be worthy of you. You are amazing, let your work reflect that. Once you are convinced you are on a big enough adventure, then gather a tribe. They are out there, go connect.

How’s Your Inertia?

http://www.devinhelmen.com/#/lifestyle/

Back when I studied physics Newton’s law regarding inertia was stated as

An object at rest tends to stay at rest, while an object in motion tends to stay in motion

This law was first defined in the 1600’s to describe the motion of relatively large objects in our environment. Think apples and bowling balls. I think it also applies to people.

People in Motion

Benjamin Franklin has been quoted,

If you want something done, ask a busy person.

I think this is because they already have the inertia of being in motion. If you ask someone who “has time” to get the work done, it often seems like the work never actually crosses the finish line. That is because they (and you, as their leader) have to overcome so much inertia to get moving in the first place.

I took some vacation around Christmas this year, and I really enjoyed the break and the slower pace of life. However, I noticed getting back to work and getting in the groove was tough. This is evidenced on this blog by the 33 day span between blog posts. So much for the “weekly” concept! I have been back at work three weeks now, and I am just now getting close to full speed and productivity.

I highly recommend staying in motion if you want to be productive. I am a fan of rest, and know it comes at a cost beyond the rest period itself.

Motion vs. Progress

I remember a friend of mine who hated to wait in traffic. Sure, I get it…traffic is slowing us down, and it is boring, and it is reducing our progress toward our goal. His response to any traffic (a red light, traffic jam, etc.) was to turn on some side street so we could keep moving. I found these detours often cost us more time than just waiting out the original delay. Sure, we were in motion…but was it really progress?

In fact, Newton’s law refers specifically to the term velocity, rather than speed.

Velocity is the combination of speed and direction. If we sacrifice direction in the name of speed, we have rarely gained true progress toward the goal.
There is a tension there: Do I stay in motion to maintain inertia, or do I accept slowing down to maintain direction.

There is no universal answer to that…a “tension to manage” as Andy Stanley would say.

Your Next Move

Two things to move forward here. First, take a close look at your own inertia. Are you moving at the speed and direction you want to? If not, fix it. Maybe you are moving too fast and need to slow down to avoid burn out. Maybe too slow and need to kick it up a notch. Maybe the direction is off or swerving…focus on the goal.

Second, ask people you lead about their inertia. Rather than “How are you feeling?” make the inquiry about their speed and direction – ask about their inertia.

Thanks For The Push

So…I write a blog now. Of course, if you are reading this, it is not news to you.

I have been writing this blog since July. I made a commitment to post one blog per week for a year. Some weeks that is easy and the thoughts flow smoothly. Some weeks it is a dreadful task that keeps getting pushed later and later in the week as I avoid it.

Why Do I Write?

I started this blog under duress. I was convinced I didn’t have anything useful to say. Even if I had something to say, surely nobody would be interested in listening. While that may be true, I have found there is value to writing anyway.

  • I get clarity. When I have an idea for a blog and I start writing, I often discover I don’t really know what I think about that idea. At least not well enough to say it out loud. Sometimes that results in putting the blog on hold until I get clear. More often some time soul searching brings that clarity and then I put it on paper.
  • I am building a library. If you are around me for very long, you will realize I have a story for nearly everything. Many of them are actually true. By writing those down, I believe I am extending those stories across audiences and across time.
  • It is a catharsis. I often write something I feel strongly about. That expression is often freeing and gives me a creative outlet. I notice a sense of peace and accomplishment when I am ready to publish.

Who Got Me Here?

Like I mentioned above, I did not just wake up one day and decide to write the blog. It was quite the opposite. People had been asking me to write for a while and I resisted. They eventually wore me down. I wanted to mention a few of them here and how they encouraged me. In no particular order…

  • Steve Caton is a friend here at Church Community Builder who has been writing our corporate blog for years now. He encouraged me to believe my thoughts were interesting to people and that I would enjoy it. I want to lead like Steve when I grow up.
  • Kevin Knebl is a friend who has taught me to focus on relationships and adding value to others, even in this environment of high technology and pressure to perform. He told me to get started and “do your pushups”. I want to love like Kevin when I grow up.
  • Jon Plotner is friend here at work who balances people and processes better than most. He is insightful in the ways he cares for people’s feelings.Jon did much of the original work getting the technology sorted out, since he saw me using that as an excuse to delay. I want to care like Jon when I grow up.
  • Ben Stroup is a writer I met several years ago. We talked about how to write. How much to write each day, how long a post should be, why people read some posts and not others, and how to disrupt the market. I want to be as insightful as Ben when I grow up.

There are many other folks who have moved me along on this journey, and held my feet to the fire.I appreciate everyone of you who reads the blog, who comments on it, or who leans on me to keep going. You are all very encouraging to me.

Your Next Move

Is there something out there people are pushing you to do? If they truly are friends looking out for your best interest, let them push you to get started.

Are You Ready?

are_you_ready
Some time ago, my wife and I were getting ready for a date night. I was ready and thought we might leave a bit early. I asked, “Are you ready?” The answer was not what I expected…”Yes, I just need to get dressed.” Wait, that means yes? I am sure that was an isolated case in our modern human existence, so I didn’t worry too much about it.

How Do You Define “Ready”?

I think of ready implying I have nothing preventing me from moving to the next thing, whether it be date night, a long road trip, a business opportunity, whatever. Others define ready more loosely, like they are in the right frame of mind to start the activities that would make them ready eventually.

I recently was talking to an associate at work about a project status, and their response was something like, “It’s good to go, we just need to code it.” Being a software project, it seemed to me the “coding” part was no small feat. My own internal dialogue was, “well, then it’s not really good to go then is it.” We clearly had different definitions for the same word.

How to Get Ready Faster

If you are one of those folks who always seems to be not-quite-ready, here are a few tips to getting ready faster.

  • Stay Organized. The more organized we are in life and business, the less time it takes to get our stuff together. On a personal level, I know where my keys and wallet are stored in the house, so I don’t have to take any time finding them before I can be ready. In business, I spend a fair bit of time reading and researching trends to be ready for the future. Then, when an opportunity comes up I can honestly say, “I have thought about that, I am ready to move.” Organization creates speed.
  • Live with Less. Recently, I took some folks to the airport for a one week trip to Hawaii. One couple got in the truck with two bags, a carry-on suitcase and a small handbag. The other couple got in the truck with five bags. Two large check-in-only-at-the-weight-limit suitcases, two carry-on bags, and a handbag. Two very different approaches to the same trip. I contend one couple was able to move faster at every change point in the trip. Check in at the airport, go through security, get on the airplane, get in the rental car, pack to go home, etc. Less to manage is an accelerator.
  • Have a Checklist. A couple of years ago, we had a major forest fire here in Colorado Springs. That scary event prompted us to create “Go Bags” for each member of the family containing some food, water, and survival supplies. Attached to each bag is a checklist instructing that member of the family what they are to do and get before we drive away in an emergency. Since we took time to get organized, and decided how little we could get by with, the checklist allows us to perform in a stressful moment without processing delays. Checklists create precision under pressure.
  • Your Next Move

    Next time you are talking to someone about being ready, first make sure you are on the same page about what ready means. In the mean time, get organized, minimize your needs, and create a checklist for what is really important.

Defeated? Keep Moving

Never Give up

When I was a much younger man, I played soccer. I started when I was six and my Dad coached the team. At that age, I am not sure we should call it “soccer” as much as “22 person amoeba crawling in the grass with no discernible purpose” but that takes too long to say. One of the first lessons I learned was to “play to the whistle”. In soccer terms it means keep playing until the ref stops you, regardless of what happens. If you think you have been fouled, keep playing. If you think the ball is out, keep playing. Over the 15 years I actively played, I remember winning several goals, and several games, because I kept playing. Now in life there are many times I think the play is over, and I have to keep playing.

Why we feel defeated

In real life we feel discouraged from time to time. I get discouraged when I make mistakes I think are unrecoverable, usually pertaining to hurting someone’s feelings. I get discouraged when I feel like my goals are unachievable. Now, I don’t need the goals to be easy, just possible. I get the most discouraged, even to the point of feeling defeated, when I realize, “I have no value here”. Maybe I think I have skills or insight, but those are not recognized. Maybe the landscape has changed so much I am out of date and irrelevant. Maybe I have failed to nurture the relationships required to have any credibility or influence here. When those happen, I am tempted to give up.

How to keep moving

Although there are times we are all discouraged and even defeated, we hope that is not a lifestyle. If it is, then you may require a larger change. Consider changing your situation (new job, new location, new community, etc.) or asking for help. When your discouragement declines into depression, counseling is a wonderful outlet to sort out the malaise. In regular times, though, here are some ideas on how to keep moving.

  • Stay in the game. We just finished the World Cup recently and I was amazed how many of the goals I watched were not made on the first shot, or even the second. Sometimes just a few more seconds of play can make the difference. For us, that means show up to work. Go to that meeting. Come home for dinner. Even if you don’t care or don’t want to go, there may be just a few more seconds of play before you get that shot at a goal.
  • Do something useful. Structured Procrastination is your friend. We all have that list of stuff we thought was a good idea at the time, but have been too busy to get to. Go do something on that list, regardless of how important it is. Maybe that means you clean out a file drawer, or sew that button on your old shirt. In my experience, doing something – anything – useful gets me back in gear to do the important stuff.
  • Share your hurt. Go cry on a friend’s shoulder. Get a beer together and talk about everything wrong with the world and your life. Grab a coffee and complain about your boss, or your marriage. Put time on the calendar, with someone else, and release all that pent up fear and frustration with no expectation of a solution. This is not a lifestyle choice, just an event with a friend who can tolerate you for an hour while you spout all the stuff you can’t say in your professional environment.
  • Read your love letters. Go through your file of love letters from past friends, colleagues, and clients. These are all the quick notes you have received in your career saying, “you are awesome”. Reading through some of these is encouraging and a reminder that you really have value in this world. What? You don’t have such a file? Go build it.

These are four easy activities to keep your head above water and get you moving again. Once you are moving, then let God direct your steps. In my own life, I have found great direction when I am in motion and very little guidance when I am stuck and stationary.

Your Next Move

If you are feeling discouraged or defeated today, refer to this list and pick one. Whichever one you chose, comment on whether it helped or not. If today you are feeling pretty good, then build the infrastructure to do those things – build an action item list of things you might want to do someday, nurture a relationship you can call on, and start your file of love letters. Trust me, build the file. Start today.

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