Dig Where You Stand

We bought a second home in Arizona around 10 years ago. Our son seemed more excited than we were. He is a big fan of a TV show about gold prospecting. I didn’t know it when we purchased the house but apparently Arizona remains fertile ground for people still interested in getting in on the gold rush. 

So he spent a small fortune on gold prospecting gear and cajoled me into heading deep into the desert in search of his sure to be fortune. It turns out prospecting for gold can be hard work. We dug around in the middle of the desert for hours. We transported 100 gallons of water with us so we could use something called a sluice box. We had to be on a constant lookout for lions and rattlesnakes. We put in a long long day. 

We also found exactly the same amount of gold in the desert that you did. 

But our son was undaunted. The next time we went out we went with a guide that could show us not only how to look for gold but where to look. He was very good. We went a long long long way into the desert. This guide owned all the mineral rights around for miles and miles. We were at least 50 miles from the nearest road, and it was incredibly rough terrain. He showed us what  areas of desert sand looks like that at some point had water running over it. Those were areas where the water could have left gold behind. 

Instead of digging all day he used a battery powered shop vac to collect sand and rocks to run through the sluice box. We also learned the best techniques to pan for gold. And we had success. We found gold! Not tons but maybe a few hundred dollars worth.

Now our son was really hooked. So every time he came to visit us in Arizona we went gold prospecting for at least a day or two. Hauling gear way out into the desert high country. Hard hard work. But we always found (unfortunately) some gold so his motivation stayed high. It was always going to be higher than mine cause I didn’t keep any of the gold, it was all his. My reward was seeing him get so excited over a piece of gold that was often literally no bigger than a grain of sand.

Then one day a friend of mine who had lived near Phoenix his whole life told me that we were wasting our time prospecting in the middle of nowhere. He told me about a place where we could find gold without all the effort. It sounded to good to be true. But I was all in on the “without the effort” part so we decided to give his advice a try. 

We drove about 50 miles but it was all highway driving. We were never in the wilderness. In fact, when we got to the spot we were about 100 yards away from a Walmart. There was a small stream behind the store and that was “the spot.” I was even more skeptical now but there were already other people there panning so we decided to give it a try. We found a nice spot upstream from most of the other people and went to work. After a few hours we were hungry so we walked over to the McDonalds for lunch. We had a nice restful lunch and then went back to search for more gold. We were back home by 5:00 with what turned out to be about $2800 in gold. It was by far the best day we had prospecting and even though we have yet to repeat that level of success we have never come home empty handed. 

It was a great lesson and a confirmation of the words of wisdom from the Irish Author and Satirist, Jonathan Swift. He said “dig where you stand.” He added, “although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps few know their own strength. It is in men as soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of.

It is very easy to fall into a habit of criticizing ourselves and others. But what about the positive things in you and in others. If you look for things to criticize then that is surely what you will find. If you look for things to criticize about yourself that is what you’ll see in yourself and you’ll begin to notice it in others as well. 

So how do we overcome that tendency to be critical?

Well you can start by digging where you stand. Instead of focusing on your perceived weaknesses ask yourself: What is good about me? Where is my gold? Ask yourself where your strengths and talents are. And don’t stop looking just because they might not jump out at you. 

It’s perfectly okay to do a bit of self-reflection on areas of our life where we need a bit of improvement. But the most successful people ALSO reflect on their strengths and how they can use them to benefit themselves and others. 

It’s likely you don’t need to go 50 miles into the desert to find your strengths. There may be a powerful vein of strengths and success running through you. All you need to do is dig a little to discover it. No sluice box required!

Some of you know that I’ve been trying out something relatively new over on Twitter. It’s called SuperFollow. That means I post some tweets that are for subscribers only. The tweets I post for subscribers are video only. I post two each weekday, mostly on leadership but also sales and living a better life in general. I’m also way more available for questions from SuperFollowers than I can be for the million plus regular Twitter followers. The investment to see these “SuperTweets” is $4.99 a month, that’s about 17 cents a day. The videos continue to grow in popularity so clearly a lot of people think they are worthwhile. 

Not only can you invest in yourself with solid video coaching, you can also make a difference in the world too. All the income from my SuperFollowers on Twitter go to help kids with Down Syndrome. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP or on a web browser. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and what topics you’d like to see me address.