"A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. A vision with a task is the hope of the world."

At the start of 2020, did you make a list of goals for the year? Even if you aren't in the habit of writing resolutions, you probably had some hopes and plans in mind. At that point, few could have imagined the challenges we would face. Now, in September, I would bet that few of our original goals for 2020 have been realized — though we can also view this as an opportunity to shift our mindset, reset priorities, and sharpen our vision for the future.

Most of us live our day-to-day lives on automatic without giving much thought to a larger purpose or meaning for who we are or what we do. Even leaders with the greatest of intentions can fall into this trap. So, what’s the problem?

Leadership that lacks forward thinking can quickly lead to discouragement and financial failure. Therefore, leadership without vision is actually dangerous! Think about it this way:

Imagine you are traveling in a car with your team, and each of you have your heads buried in your GPS devices. No one, not even YOU, the driver, is looking  at the road! In this scenario, it is difficult to see how you could possibly avoid an accident, right? However, when you pay attention, ignore the distractions, take in the scenery, and are present to where you are going, you will have a successful trip! It's the same with being a visionary leader.

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No matter what one might think of her or her family’s political leanings, it is clear that Barbara Bush was well-loved by many people on both sides of the aisle. What’s not to love? Married 73 years to the same man, raised 6 children and sadly lost another to leukemia, Mrs. Bush embodied loyalty, commitment, passion, courage, strength, and grace. Often lovingly referred to as The Enforcer, she raised a family that believes in the importance of giving back, and while not perfect, Mrs. Bush knew who she was and unconditionally stood by her family with love and support that only she could give.

She once said, “What you see with me is what you get.” I’m a lot like that too, and maybe that’s why I admire her so much. Mrs. Bush’s ability to gracefully and unapologetically be who she was, without making others wrong in the process, served her, her family, and our country well. She was a force to be reckoned with and her no-nonsense way of being will be sorely missed.

Now, I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about Barbara Bush or even a fraction of it, for that matter, but I can say this, she was clearly an incredible human being. Of all the quotes attributed to her that I’ve read over the last day, the following is my favorite:

Cherish your human connections. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.” ~Barbara Bush

Mrs. Bush knew what was important and lived it every single day, and my great hope is that her legacy of strength and courage lasts well beyond the current 24/7 news coverage of her life and death. Fly high, Mrs. Bush. You did good.

10 Jul 2017

Sweet Summertime

We are more than halfway through the summer, and I have to ask, how are you doing? Despite the sweetness that often accompanies summertime, it also has a way of throwing us off our games, slowing us down, and creating circumstances where we just plain spin out! Our routine is challenged both at home and at work and people around us are spaced out and distracted. Of course, all of this can be avoided or at least minimized with some planning, focus, and commitment to staying on track.

How can you get yourself out of the summertime slows, stay sane, organized, and directed no matter what is going on around you?

  • Follow your written plan. There is no arguing with the specific, measurable results (SMRs) and the by-whens that you set for you and your team. And if you don't have a plan, write one! Yes, I hear the groans now, but trust me on this one. Take the time to write a plan! It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, but if you don't put where you are going in writing and by-when you are committed to getting there, getting what you say you want will be much more difficult to accomplish.
  • Take care of yourself - hint: follow (or create) your personal plan. To have your life be the way you say you want it to be, you've got to keep your batteries charged, and you do that by taking care of YOU.
  • Be unstoppable. Stay focused on your commitments and don't allow any circumstance to get in your way.

If your circumstances have already gotten the best of you, don't beat yourself up. Instead, ask for help. In fact, I say we make a pact. Anytime we find ourselves stopped in any way, we acknowledge what we see in each other, clear what is in the way, ask for help, and follow the points above. More simply put, get into action, follow your plan, and be your word. Be powerful in your own behalf! When you do, you'll find yourself happier, your goals in focus, and time to actually enjoy the sweetness that summertime has to offer.

Remember: Only you have a say in how your life turns out. So, what do you say?

Spring brings with it not only beautiful flowers and budding trees, it often times brings with it an air of tiredness, of not wanting to play and avoidance. Instead of holding on to the energy that early spring brings us, we can get caught in the drama of the impending summer, and many, many people get stopped; they go on a bit of a “mental vacation!”

How do you know if you’ve gone on a mental vacation?

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Spring is finally springing, and while the mountains of Montana still have plenty of snow, spring is in the air. One thing I enjoy most about spring is listening to the birds chirping. I hadn’t  thought about it much, except to enjoy it, but the other day it struck me that the chirping of the birds is about far more than entertaining us humans. Rather, birds chirp to communicate!

The chirping of birds helps them attract mates, warn of impending danger, and identify themselves and their territory. Babies chirp to let their parents know they are hungry, and what I appreciate about the way birds communicate is that it is an innate part of their being. They don’t care who might over-hear or judge them. They simply communicate what is necessary in order to exist the way nature intended, and it seems to me that we could learn from our little feathered friends.

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