Imagine a group of people hiking in the wilderness. The person guiding the group points and says, “that mountain top is our destination!” Everyone looks, but because it’s so foggy they can’t see the mountain or its top. Without the guide, the group might make it to a mountain top, but how could they be sure it’s the right one. Take that same situation on a clear day. The guide comes to clearing and points to to the visible mountain. The team could see the mountain, the mountain top, and they could also see the terrain that comes before the mountain. They could see the river that they have to cross, the forrest that they have to go through. They could now mentally prepare for the journey ahead. And if the guide were to leave for some reason, the group could continue in the direction of the mountain with little supervision.
As a leader, the vision that you set before your team will either help you or hinder you. Setting a clear vision of what you expect is the first thing you should do before taking on any task, role, project, anything. Even if you are at the bottom of your organization, setting clear expectations will help you, and those working with you, understand what you are doing. Even when it comes to goal setting for yourself. You need to have a clear vision for your year, or your life, depending on how far you are planning out. Without that picture you are basically just doing busy work, moving around aimlessly. With a clear vision, your steps will have purpose.
How do you know if you have a clear vision?
1) Is there a clear destination or is the outcome visible? Reaching the mountain top is visible. Getting 10 new customers is visible. Doing a better job is not visible. The outcome needs to be specific enough for everyone to know when you have hit the mark. People want to see you hit the bullseye, so show them the target and fire. They will cheer you on.
2) Are people asking a ton of questions? If your team is asking alot of questions, it’s because they are trying to paint the picture themselves. They can’t see it with the description that you gave, so they are asking for clarity. Too much fog. Help them by painting a clear picture, it will save you the trouble of having to clarify things after time and resources have been spent.
3) Could you leave someone in charge to make decisions for the group? When someone could take the reins and drive for a bit because they know where you are headed. When someone could step in while you are out (sick, vacation, other) and still keep your ship headed in the right direction. This is a true mark of having a clear vision.
Setting the vision for yourself or your team is like painting a mental picture. You have to be able to see it and describe it in a way that the next person could do the same.
Look over your goals for 2013. Are they clear and specific? Try describing each one outloud and if you can’t picture it in your minds-eye, don’t worry about it, it will come to you… just keep painting.
January 19th, 2012. It was an unbelievable night with emotions running high. A close friend of mine, Jason Cabrera, aka DJ J.Sin, the official DJ of Built2Grind, was at his first Las Vegas gig at The Beatle’s Revolution Lounge in the Mirage hotel and casino.
The club put him down in the books back in November but J.Sin got some last minute news the day before. Not only was he going to be the DJ that night but he was going to be the DJ for an event they were having called “The Good Foot” Thursday’s. That Thursday “The Good Foot” was going to host a tribute to late-great Jimmy Castor. For those that don’t know, Jimmy Castor was famous for his contributions to funk music and the beginning of the breakdancing culture. His song, “It’s just begun”, was one of the most sampled songs among breakers. The emcee of the tribute was a good friend of Jimmy Castor, the legendary breaker, Mr. Freeze. Freeze is from a group called the Rock Steady Crew from New York and is one of the main promoters of the Beatle’s Revolution Lounge.
“These were my idols growing up,” J.Sin says “… and now I’m going to be spinning for them.”
This was surreal as J.Sin started off as a breaker and these guys were the inspiration for him getting into music.
The night of the event came quick and J.Sin kept his composer while shaking hands with Mr. Freeze, meeting him for the first time and talking about how the night will unfold. Built2Grind was in the house along with fans of J.Sin ready to blow the roof off that place.
The tribute started with a moment of silence for the late Jimmy Castor and then a circle was made for breakers and dancers of all genres to showcase their moves. Members from the Rock Steady Crew, Zulu Nation and Super Crew were there, just to name a few. It was a great night and things couldn’t have been more perfect.
“It was just such a honor for me to play for the b-boys” J.Sin says.
DJ J.Sin worked the room afterwards while the rest of us just watched in admiration for our friend. In the end the club asked him to come back anytime and you could be sure that he’ll be a regular there at the Mirage.
The next day I got to talk to J.Sin more about that night, and between trying to work and being in awe of the talent he was around, he didn’t know how it went.
“It happened so fast I didn’t have time to process everything,”
Like Will Ferral blacking out in the movie “Old School”. We all LOL’d at his humble awareness of what just happend, but he did an awesome job. From prepping for the event and finding out legends will be there dancing to your music, (no pressure right). Through all that, he kept his cool the whole night. I wondered how he was able to keep so calm with all the things that were thrown at him in such a short time, but just seeing him in action that night I realized that he was just doing what he does best …
playing to the music.
We all have lofty ideas of “the next best thing”. I want to be the next Facebook. I want to direct like Spielberg. My idea is better than Groupon. We are all still looking for that get rich quick scheme that is going to take us to the top. And although the idea that we have might have some merit, sometimes keeping your eyes focused on something so big is detrimental to us actually getting there. Sometimes in order to reach these huge goals, we don’t need a big break, but a small step.
A chef doesn’t start off wanting to own restaurants all over the world, he wants to make one dish the best dish he’s ever made. A teacher doesn’t think about the number of students that he will educate in his lifetime, but focuses on giving the best education to the students in his class today. A doctor doesn’t start off focusing on the cure for cancer, she is focused on one cell and getting that one cell to react to her treatment.
Actor Will Smith talked about a project that his dad gave to him and his brother when they were little; to build a wall. The boys said it would take forever, but they started anyway. He said, “… But you aren’t focused on the wall everyday, you are focused on laying one brick perfectly, one day at a time. And eventually, you’ll have a wall.”
It’s ok to think big and have huge goals, I actually encourage that. But when you are starting out on a new goal, to ensure that you maintain all the way through to your destination, it helps to start small. A single step.
“If you want to be a Rockstar, the first step is learn how to rock.”
“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”
A few years ago I decided that in order to work on my behaviors and habits I had to go a step deeper and figure out what my values were that made me the person that I am. Franklin Covey talks about this in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People“. I started by listing out all the things that I loved about the people that were close to me and what I thought people liked about me. The list was long but I eventually narrowed it down to ten and just last year I brought it down to eight.
Follow me for a second.
My overall goal with this was to be able to add value to those around me. But I couldn’t do that unless people trusted my opinion, and they can’t trust my opinion if my position on certain things changed all the time. My opinions (or values) had to be sound and people had to be aware that these are the things that I stood for.
So, eight core values. Values, that if I focused on these, they would act as my guide on all the controversial issues that I encounter. When an situation comes up, I could turn to these values and see if the action I’m about to take is aligned with these values. If they weren’t then I didn’t participate.
Now I’ll go into each of these in more detail in later blog posts but for now, my focus is to share with you how I work on these.
Once you have decided on which values you want to live by, you’ll have to purposefully plan out instances were you could perform these values. You have to set the stage to take on these tasks. Its not enough to just say you’ll work on these everyday when “something” comes up. It doesn’t work that way, believe me I tried that. What I do is focus on one value a week and then I try to put myself in a situation where this value will be put to the test.
For example, Understanding. I would search my life to find a place where maybe I’m not understanding someone or something, and I would make it my goal for that week to seek out the understanding that I was looking for. It could be a sincere talk with someone in whom I had a fight with, or making a call to fully understand the position a client was coming from. I would journal, question, research, whatever I had to do to satisfy the practice of understanding.
I thought that even if I focused on one of these for one week a year, that was better than just waiting for something to happen and to hope I would remember to act accordingly. So at any given week, you could count on me working on one of these, trying to build my character one value at a time.
“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.” – Jim Rohn.
What do you stand for?
It’s the new year and people are kicking off their resolutions to better themselves for 2012. I too am one of the many that loves goals and seeing myself improve from year to year. I’ve tried many methods of goal keeping from 7 habits to GTD to just plan and simple “just do it”. All work for a time, but with the change in pace that my life takes from day-to-day to minute-to-minute, I found that you just need to find something that works for you now. If you find that something isn’t working properly then it is perfectly ok to change it. I’m trying something new with this.
Project 52 is my way of pacing myself with one goal, while working on my other projects. This is my spin of the “project 365″s out there that are done on a daily basis. Kudos to those that have taken on that task and are able to complete it.
The goal is to have more lunch/dinner dates with friends and family.
Working from home full time for the past year, I feel like I’ve turned into a hermit. Communicating through the magic box and only coming out of my “cave” to get food or supplies. And I think that I’ve neglected the personal aspect of the simple conversation. A disappearing art form since the invention of the smartphone. I see people communicating all the time, but not a lot of connecting.
I have other goals for this year, as I really am a goal freak, but this is one that I was a little embarrassed to put out there since it feels like everyone is so social and going out all the time to interesting places and doing interesting things. You know the feeling, or maybe you don’t because you’re the one posting all the pictures. Either way, you can’t step out of your comfort zone if you still feel comfortable after you take the step. So this is me taking a step, not because I’m afraid of people, but because I’m asking for people to connect.
With that said… Let’s do lunch.
Feel free to check out some of my older posts and comment if you like. I’ll still be responding to those. Thanks a million and one.
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?
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?