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What’s the difference?

What do Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs and Tyler Pennington have in common?

They are all super famous?  Well yes, but that’s not what I as looking for.  The answer I was looking for was, they are all Impact players.

The moment that you see them get involved in something, you know right away that this thing is going to have a huge impact on people. When MJ stepped on the court, his talent impacted his team by raising the bar of their team-play, it requested the A-game of the opposing team, and it inspired millions of fans to “Want to be like Mike”.  When Mr. Jobs stepped on stage you knew what he was bringing to the table was going to be a game changer forever impacting the marketplace as we know it. And Tyler, with his loud hair with personality to match, there is no doubt that he has personally impacted the lives of hundreds of people when he gets involved in a home makeover project, not just the families but the whole community.

Now I’m not sure of the motives of each one of these examples but I’m sure that at some point in time these men decided to leave nothing on the table and give life their all. They put their blood, sweat and tears into their passion and as a result have made a name for themselves as impact players.

Not to long ago I made a promise to myself that where ever I go and whatever project I’m working on, that I’m going to make a difference in that project. That anyone who knows about that project will know
that I was a huge impact on the success of that project. That I will create value to those around me and that my work ethic will be displayed in commitments that I take on.

I didn’t want to be a spectator but a participator, and not just a participator but an impact player.

“If your presence isn’t impactful, then your absence won’t matter”

Are you an Impact player?

The Power of the Decision

We all change our minds from time to time and that is something that’s normal for everyone, but what isn’t normal is is the wishy-washy-ness that seems to plague many people today.  You see it in the way we plan out our days, to the commitments we make to others and even to ourselves.   We are a nation of “whatevers” and we want to go around life just doing what other people tell us to do or we look to whatever social proof there is to fuel our ideas and we run with it.  (Social proof = if everyone is doing it, it must be right.)  Oh, so and so is doing this, maybe I should do it too, or so and so bought this, maybe I should buy it too.

We go around life playing follow the leader, but we change the leaders so often that when we actually stop to see the direction we’ve gone in, it’s a maze of tangled lines that often leads to the same spot we were in a month ago, or a year ago.

Take this test if you will:  Pick the area of life that you most want to work on.  Look back a month or even a year ago and ask yourself this, “have I made any big/hard decisions in this area of my life and stuck with it?”

If you have then great, you understand the power, but if not then I leave you with this: a choice will be made on your life but will it be you making the decision?

Getting back on course

A ship is off course 95% of the time it’s at sea.

Then you might ask, how the heck does it ever get to it’s destination?  The answer is simple: it constantly makes corrections to get back on track.  At first thought you might think that a ship travels from point A to point B via straight line, but that is so far from the case.  There are outside forces that push and pull the ship in directions that the captain didn’t intend for it to go.  Forces such as wind and currents, not to mention the storms and hurricanes that could knock a ship off course.  A smart captain will account for these trials at sea and make sure that once the storm has passed, he is again checking his charts to make sure that he gets back on course.  You could picture a ship traveling not in a straight line but in a zig-zag pattern to it’s destination and just like a ship, this is how most of us professionals travel to our destinations, or goals.

Rarely do we ever plot a course for our goals and it’s carried out exactly like we planned.  Those of you with little children know that planning on doing something is tough when you have certain variables vying for your attention.  But if this principle is understood then we don’t need to beat ourselves up over not being on course 100% of the time.  I hold myself to very high standards as I’m sure you do too, and I normal beat myself up when my plans don’t go the way I want, but I quickly realize that’s just me getting off course and I need to understand where I’m at and get back on track.

We normally view these zig-zags as negatives as if we are going backwards when actually we are just a little off course and we just need a little bit of adjustments to get back on track.  I recently had a “zig” in a project as a series of events prevented me from getting some easy work done.  If it wasn’t one thing it was another and it seemed that I couldn’t find the time to get this work done.  (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt this.)  It wasn’t something urgent but it was something that I had planned for and kept getting push back.  Just when I was about to get started, something (or someone) would call for my attention and I’d have to get up and tend to that issue.  This work wasn’t like a meeting or anything where I would normally block off time but it just so happened that when I decided to work on it, I got interrupted.  I wanted my ship to go in one direction and the tide wanted to take me in another.  Once I realized this, I was able to get back on course by slicing up the work into smaller tasks, scheduling a chunk of time to get it done and getting this monkey off my back.  A small task turned into a huge ordeal just because of the life that was happening around me. The first thing you have to do is realize you are off track, then the rest is up to you on how to get back back.

Here are some things I use when I want to get back on track:

  • Do a Mind sweep – listing all the things that have your attention right now.  Fix the window, call Mom, Schedule a meeting with client…  Dump all of that onto a list and don’t stop until you have everything written down.  After you have that list written out, you usually find it’s not as impossible as you made it out to be.
  • Journal/ Talk to someone – similar to the mind sweep, this is a way to get your issues out in the open to give it a face or make it tangible.  When you verbalize something, it has to make sense otherwise you’d just be rambling.  But in your quest to make sense, the solution to your problem usually is right in front of you.
  • Buy a book – Sometimes reading helps me gain insights to what I need to do and some reading in that field will help stir up ideas or thoughts on adjustments that could be made to my current plan of action.
  • Take a trip – seems counter productive when you are planning on going somewhere else, but taking a side trip, or a pit stop might be just what the doctor ordered.  Enjoy your tangent off course and chalk it up to living in the moment.  Let everyone know (including yourself) that when we get back, it’s time to work.
  • Clean my desk – Something easy that could be done at anytime.  A clean workspace tends to help ideas flow better.  An uncluttered desk leads to an uncluttered brain.

Let me know what you do to get back on track.

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