What’s Your Favorite Day of the Week?

I’m not really sure how I’d answer that question. I tend to like all seven of them equally. I do hear some people say they hate Monday’s. I think that might have to do with their attitudes about their jobs more than their calendar preferences. 

I also hear some people say they love Fridays. That might say more about their job too, plus the fact that Friday gets them closer to their real favorite day of the week…Saturday. 

But whatever people say, when you watch them you see what their actual favorite day of the week is. For a whole lot of people their favorite day of the week is tomorrow. 

Tomorrow appears to be an absolutely fantastic day. It’s the best day to do almost anything. I hear people saying all the time, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” Sometimes they say, “I’ll finish that tomorrow.” The most popular of all is, “I’ll start that tomorrow.” 

Isn’t it interesting that tomorrow is both the best day to start something AND the best day to finish it. 

Tomorrow is truly a wonderful day!

Except for this one little bitty problem…tomorrow is not a day of the week. Tomorrow is not on your calendar. Tomorrow never actually happens because when you get to the next day of the week that day turns out to be today. 

The most successful people never allow tomorrow to be their favorite day of the week. Nothing kills the opportunity for success like waiting for tomorrow to implement a good idea. Once you’ve started something the best time to finish it is the earliest opportunity you have. 

Never finish tomorrow something you could finish today. 

Eliminate “tomorrow” from your vocabulary today. Just stop saying the word. The day after today has a date on the calendar…use the date. I’m going to do it on May 7th! Make the day after today real by being able to see it on your planning calendar. 

When somebody tells you “they will do it tomorrow” do them a favor by asking what’s the date for “tomorrow is on their calendar.” Help them hold themselves accountable by giving you a date, maybe even a time. 

You can hold yourself accountable in the same way. Use dates not days, especially don’t use days that you can’t find on a calendar. 

Tomorrow I’ll be giving away free money on Twitter to better illustrate what happens when you wait for tomorrow. I’ll see you then…or maybe the next day. 

Leadership Trust

I find it amazing how many people in Leadership Positions are not trusted. I find it amazing because building and maintaining trust just isn’t that hard. All you need to do is be honest. Do what you said you would do. Do it exactly when you said you would do it. Do those things every day of your life and presto… you have now created trust. 

Notice in that first sentence I said people in Leadership Positions…I didn’t say Leaders. That’s because true leaders, Authentic Leaders, people who actually lead, are trusted. They are trusted because they do what they say they will do. They do it when they say they will. They do not say yes when what they mean to say is no. 

They may occasionally fail at honoring a commitment but not because of a lack of effort. Their people reward that effort with their trust. 

The actions of the most trusted leaders always match their words. Special emphasis on the “always” part of that last sentence. Trusted leaders know that we all have what I would call a “credibility bank” that determines how trustworthy we are.

The greater the balance in your credibility bank the more people will trust you. When your words always match your actions you’ll have a very large balance in your credibility bank. Do what you say you will and you receive a very small deposit into that account. Do it when you say you will and you’ll receive another small deposit. Say exactly what you mean and follow through on what you said and yep, another small deposit. 

But mess up and fail to follow through and you’ll be making a gigantic withdrawal from your account. Say one thing and do another and bingo, another massive withdrawal. As if that’s not damaging enough, after a couple of those large withdrawals the deposits you receive for doing what you say you will get even smaller. So small in fact that the balance in your credibility bank may never return to what it once was. 

Make absolutely no mistake about this leadership fact; if your people can’t trust you then your people can’t follow you. If you’re seen as lacking integrity then you’re seen as lacking the most basic quality of Authentic Leadership. 

You may be able to force the compliance of the people you are supposed to be leading but you’ll never earn the commitment you need to truly lead. Protect the balance in your credibility bank as if it were gold because in a world short on Authentic Leadership it’s far more valuable than that. 

The Most Important Day of Your Life

If someone were to ask you what was the most important day of your life how would you answer?

If I’m asked that question I have a quick and definitive answer. Today! Today is the most important day of my life because today is the day I have some control over. I can’t change anything about yesterday. The best I can do for tomorrow is have a plan for how I want the day to go. 

But today, well today I can take action that could lead to the outcomes I want. Of all the days of my life, today is the only day I can say that. 

Your past is important to your education but it’s pretty hard to be good yesterday. The future provides you with vision but you can’t be good tomorrow either. Today is the day you get to make a difference in your life and the life of others. 

Many people with great potential have been sidetracked by a past that they can’t change and a future that they can’t see. In their attempt to control every day they end up controlling nothing. The only day you can truly control is today…so control it.

If you were to look on my calendar you would see 30 minutes each morning set aside for planning that day. I use 5:00 to 5:30am to determine exactly how I want my day to go and exactly what I’m willing to do to make that happen. 

When my day starts to collide with the events of the day I have some idea of how I’ll respond. Truth be told most days don’t go according to plan but the fact that I have a plan gives me a head start on almost everyone I come into contact with. I have control over my day. Their day has control over them. That’s the power of planning.

You’ll never have a more important day in your life than today…at least not until tomorrow becomes today. What you do today, the actions you take and the decisions you make TODAY can change all the todays in your future. 

So be thoughtful with your decisions. Be intentional in your actions. You’ll never have this day again, whatever you do, don’t waste one precious second of it. It’s the most important day of your life! 

Learning a Little Leads to Learning a Lot

People are busy. I hear people talking all the time about the things they don’t have time to do. Sacrifices must be made in the name of time, even though we wish we didn’t have to. 

People are really busy…but are they productive? 

I’m sorry to say that in too many cases the answer to that question is a great big NO. People get so busy that they can’t even find the time to question if what they are doing is getting them closer to their goals and objectives. (Assuming of course they invested time in actually setting goals) 

I’d suggest to you that if you didn’t do something yesterday to get closer to one of your goals then no matter how busy you were you were not productive.

One of the most productive things people can do is set aside a few minutes EVERY day to learn something new. With all the blogs and podcasts available these days that’s never been easier. If you’re selective with the blogs and podcasts you read and listen to you could even learn something true. 🙂

But again, people are really busy and don’t have time to feed their brain. That’s what learning is you know, literally feeding your brain. I’m pretty sure if you can find 15 minutes a day to feed your stomach then you can find the time to feed your brain as well. 

That’s all I’m suggesting here and not even 15 minutes a day, how about 15 minutes 3 or 4 days a week. For many of us that’s far more than we’re investing in our futures today. 

Read a book, even if it takes weeks and weeks to finish it. The most successful people are big time readers. They are never far from a book. They have made a habit out of reading which is not surprise. Successful people have developed the habits of doing the things that less successful people don’t like to do…or won’t invest the time to do.

I’ll bet you can’t tell me how you used all 10,080 minutes available to you last week. But I can tell you that it’s highly likely you frittered away a good many of them. Those are minutes you’ll never get back, you’ve lost them forever. If you had invested 45 of them in learning then you have at least 45 minutes that can never be taken away from you. 

A little learning, each and every week leads to a lot of learning before you know it. Make a habit of learning something new on a regular basis; you might be surprised at how much there is to learn. 

Do You Know the People You Lead?

I suppose the title of this post is silly because of course you know the people you lead. You know their name. You know their job description and you know…?

What more do you know? You make decisions regarding the people you lead on a daily basis and it’s very possible that when you really stop to think about it you don’t actually know that much about them. 

When was the last time you straight up asked the people you lead what they are passionate about? Have you ever asked them what work they would do for free if they could afford it? Have you ever, even once, asked them how you could honor them or recognize them. When was the last time you asked about their family? What about their hobbies and interests outside of work, when was the last time you asked about that?

Most people in leadership positions say they don’t have time to get to know their people at that level. What they actually mean is that it’s not a priority for them. Authentic Leaders make knowing their people, really knowing them, a top priority. 

They invest time each day, each and every day, to conduct an “innerview” with one or more of the people they lead. It might only be 5 or 10 minutes but they would tell you it’s the most important 5 or 10 minutes of their day. 

It is not an “interview,” that’s what you do when you’re hiring someone. An “innerview” is what you do when you want to know your people on a level that truly allows you to lead them. To know what motivates them. To understand their goals in life. To understand their thinking and their actions. 

Most people would say that their people are their organization’s greatest asset. Then they tell you they can’t spare 5 minutes to invest in that asset. Instead they spend their time on something they said was less important…that is not a recipe for successful leadership.

If knowing your people is not a priority then you may be a boss, you may be a manager, but I’m sorry to tell you it’s unlikely that you’re much of a leader. 

Invest time this very day and each day to get to know the people you lead. Until you do they are probably not really following you and this much is certain, if no one is following then you ain’t leading. 

Get to know your people and Lead Today!

The Hopelessness of No Goals

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of goals. Goals that my wife and I set decades ago are still being achieved. Things we said would happen in 2021 are indeed happening, almost to the day we said they would years and years ago. Most of what we have and have achieved we owe to the power of setting goals and developing a plan to achieve them. Even though some of the plans spanned decades. 

So when I was invited recently to attend a full-day Goal Setting Seminar my instincts said to decline, especially considering the Seminar was being held on a Saturday. I figured I knew enough. But then I discovered that the day included 9 holes of golf and I was suddenly way more interested. 

I figured if nothing else I’d learn something I could add to the sessions I present on the subject of goal setting and play some golf too. So I signed up. 

The early session was about what you’d expect if you’ve ever taken a class on setting goals. Lots of talk about setting SMART goals and having goals for different parts of your life, career goals, financial goals, personal goals, health goals and the like. 

The second session was a little more unusual; it covered the motivational aspects of having goals and how we can actually lose interest in life without goals. It was okay but it was a little blah blah blah for me. No examples or evidence, only an instructor telling you goals were important. Duh! 

But then the best part of the day…a boxed lunch and off to the golf carts for some fun. The Golf Course was in the community were I live so I was very familiar with it. Something didn’t feel exactly right as we left the conference room and headed outside. It was a Saturday, and normally a busy golfing day. 

We were only playing nine holes. There should have been plenty of tee times available for other golfers. But the place was completely empty other than those of us participating in the seminar. 

I asked what was going on and was told the course was preparing for some renovation work.  We would be the last group playing before it closed for a couple of months. That’s not unusual in the Phoenix area for a course to do major work in the summer, golf actually slows down when the temps reach 100 degrees day after day. While that all turned out to be true it wasn’t the only reason there weren’t other people on the course. We’d discover the other reason soon enough. 

So off we went. My first drive was a little right on a hole that bends to the right, not ideal. I’d have to make a decision to either play back out into the fairway or take a shortcut over the trees to the green. I decided on the shortcut. The shot I hit felt pretty good but I couldn’t see the green so I’d have to wait until I got the the green to see how the shot turned out. I knew I made it over the trees and I knew I went in the general direction of the green so I was pretty hopeful.

As we approached the green I was focused on seeing whether my ball was on the green or not, so focused that I didn’t see what I normally would have. When I got right up by the green I noticed there was no flagstick. For those of you who don’t play golf the flagstick indicates the location of the hole on the green.

Then I discovered why there was no flagstick. It was because there was no hole. It was absolutely the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had. I hit balls on the range like I usually do. I studied my yardage, carefully selected my clubs and hit the best shot I could, all with the goal in mind of making par or better on the hole. 

But there was no hole. The would be no par, no birdie, not even a bogey. I would have been mad except I figured out almost instantly what was going on. The evidence that was missing from the second session was now staring me in the face. The goal of golf is to get the ball in the hole with the fewest strokes possible. With no hole for the ball to go into the rest of the game becomes pointless in a hurry. 

The roaming instructor showed up and told us to go ahead and pick up the ball and move to the next hole, maybe there would be a hole on that green…or maybe there wouldn’t. 

I couldn’t win at this game of golf, I couldn’t lose. I couldn’t measure my results against other rounds I’d played in the past. I couldn’t measure myself against the other players. I lost interest in the game before I got to the second green. It was no fun at all. And when I did get to the green there was no damn hole again. The roaming instructor said “maybe next time.”

It was hopeless. It was pointless. 

It was also the best example of what a life devoid of goals must be like. I suppose if you’ve never had real goals you wouldn’t know what you’re missing. If I’d never played golf I might not have known there was supposed to be a hole in the green. 

But I did indeed learn something that day. I learned a life without goals can get hopeless even quicker than I thought. I was disappointed, frustrated, confused, even mad when I reached a place where I should have been able to accomplish a goal. The only reason I couldn’t was because a goal didn’t exist. 

Are you disappointed, confused, even mad at the end of a day? Do you wonder what the point is of going to work day after day for a mere paycheck? Could it be that you don’t have clearly definable goals you’re working towards each day? 

Setting goals and developing a plan to achieve them will make everything in your life more meaningful. Goals give you purpose. Goals provide you with motivation, even on very difficult days. Goals become the roadmap to success, in your career, in your relationships, in every part of your life. 

Don’t go one more day without knowing exactly what you want out of life and exactly how you’re going to get it. Invest time to set goals and invest more to build a solid plan to achieve them. 

It will truly change your life. 

Um…You do Know it’s a Video Call, Right?

I’ve been told that one of the advantages of working from home is that you can dress as you please. Working from home has apparently done wonders for the sweatpants business. From my experience it would seem that the shift to working from home has had the opposite effect on any company selling razor blades. 

I’ve also noticed of late that t-shirts are becoming more common. I didn’t pay much attention to that until people starting using their t-shirts to clean around the house and then put them back on for the Zoom call. 

From what I’ve seen the hair care business would be another bad business to invest in. There is far less need for good grooming and hygiene on a Teams Call cause well after all, it’s not like “they” can smell you. 

But they most certainly can see you on a Video call…I’m pretty sure that’s why they call it Video. If it’s a work call then your appearance matters. (Actually it kinda matters all the time but more so in a professional setting)

Right or wrong people form opinions of you based at least partially on your appearance. When your face is the last to pop up on the screen as the meeting is beginning and you’re wearing a t-shirt with holes in it, with grease spots, and you didn’t take the time to even run a comb through your hair then you should know that you are severely damaging your credibility. 

That might not be fair, it might not be right but it is absolutely true. Your colleagues are likely talking about you behind your back…and not in a good way. Worse, your organization’s leadership team are forming long lasting opinions of you. They will last well after you’re back to being in the office and looking all spiffed up. 

Each day dress exactly as if you were going into the office, because you virtually are going into the office, even if you have no calls on your calendar. You will feel more confident, the quality of your work will be higher and perhaps the quantity too. 

If dressing for work even when you’re working from home seems pointless to you then you’re missing the point. The point of dressing professionally even when working in the room down the hall is to maintain your credibility and the respect of the people you interact with. 

Don’t give people anything to talk about other than your excellent work. If they are talking how poorly you look on those calls they won’t be talking about what you said, no matter how insightful you may have been.

That’s today’s reality. Don’t try to fool yourself into thinking your appearance doesn’t matter cause they can only see you on a screen. They can see you…and what they see matters.