Turning Point

2014-03-10 20.20.23

Life is always at some turning point.~ Irwin Edman

When is that defining moment in time?  THAT moment.  The one that changes everything.

You know you need to do something: save money, lose weight, start a new program, go back to school, etc.

You have done the research and you have all the knowledge needed to get the job done.

But you have not pulled the trigger.

You know that you should have quit your job three years ago, but you did not.

 

This is the point at which a significant change occurs. This is THAT moment.

How do you know this is the moment you have been waiting for?

You FEEL it.

I have heard this process referred to as See-Feel-Change.

When we FEEL the effects of our decisions, then we can change.

When we FEEL the personal consequences of a problem and we can point out the real people that may suffer from our lack of movement, then we change.

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Like A Boss

like a boss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

 

Like A Boss is one of my favorite sayings. When I used “The Google” to research the origin of the phrase, I found the following:

Like A Boss is a catchphrase often used in image macros or GIFs that feature a person completing an action with authority and finesse. It was first used on SNL as part of a skit and went viral soon after. You can learn more here.

I always use this phrase when I see someone taking on a big challenge, pushing themselves in a new arena or doing something with amazing gusto and passion.

At the core of this phrase is an important life lesson: No matter who is paying us, we are each our own boss. Whether you are an independent contractor, a small business owner or a Fortune 500 employee – YOU ARE ULTIMATELY YOUR OWN BOSS. You are in charge of your career, your professional development, your continued learning.

We have to do it all – like a boss.

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What Does It Take To Make Yourself Better?

hard-work-vs-talent-quote

 

Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.

Lucille Ball

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lucillebal127077.html#VRew9aut2hT7Qt08.99

 

Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work…”
— Albert Einstein

 

 

 

I am not athletic. I don’t watch sports nor do I play any, but I am fascinated by the athlete mentality.

Athletes are amazing. Some have incredible natural talent and for various reasons  never live up to potential, while others are so-so  with the talent but go on to become legends. LEGENDS

How?

Athletes striving for success play the long game. They understand that the only way to achieve greatness is through the slog. There is beauty and grace in the slog. There is pain and disappointment in the slog. The slog of learning to throw the ball better, learning to shave points off of your time, practicing 1000 free throws every day.

Nobody is talented enough to not have to work hard.

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Work hard. Be nice

 

HARD-WORK

 

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.

-Sam Ewing

 

Work Hard. Be nice.  I first heard this phrase from the folks at the Knowledge is Power Program -KIPP.

My mom taught me this lesson in a million ways. Follow the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Karma.

But these 4 words “Work hard. Be nice” encompass how I want to live every day of my life and what I hope comes through clearly in my work. I understand this directive on a visceral level.

Work hard.  Be nice.

KIPP, a national network of free public charter schools, share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars. They strongly emphasize character building in everything they do. They see the development of character as being just as important as learning geography or geometry. Character development is just as important to long-term success as learning to write code or use a video camera. Just as important as being an excel master or a good copy editor.

The smartest creatives aren’t the ones that sit alone, creating the perfect product. Whether they are writing the next great American novel or creating the next big tech tool, they create a strong community where they can test and learn – where they can release their work to the world. They create a lab of learning that allows them to finish what they start – even when it’s not perfect, and share it with the world – even when they don’t feel ready.

They SHIP constantly.  They SHIP consistently. They SHIP early. They SHIP often.

Are you willing to ship something 10,000 times before you get it right?  Thomas Edison was.   It requires incredible focus to remain faithful to an idea, and uncompromising strength to ship that idea 10,000 times!

Strength of character helps make this happen. It builds an attitude and mindset that is courageous and resilient. It is about the attitude that allows you to seek, strive, find and never yield.

So the importance of hard work is pretty obvious. But why do you have to be nice?

Being positive and upbeat can influence everyone around you, and so can being negative.  Let’s just be clear…mean people suck.

While you may not be able to help it if you are having a bad day or if you don’t like doing a particular task, changing your attitude changes everything. Complaining will only make time drag on when doing an unpleasant task. Being unpleasant while you are doing something that you hate makes it a million times worse.  No one wants to work with, collaborate, support, partner with or engage with an unpleasant person.

No one – no matter how much talent you have.

Being a pleasant person helps every day. It increases your energy and your community which helps increase your opportunities…so you can do more work. Humor, fun, laughter and kindness are the ultimate acts of creativity. Being nice helps you share your gifts and talents with a wider, broader, deeper audience.

 Work hard. Be nice. Love wins.

KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars: – See more at: http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/five-pillars#sthash.3TLTp7F0
KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars: – See more at: http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/five-pillars#sthash.3TLTp7F0.dpuf
KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars: – See more at: http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/five-pillars#sthash.3TLTp7F0.dpuf
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Accepting Help Does Not Equate To Weakness

When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.

John Lennon

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon110323.html#XwRMH4sXd30W7H3a.99

When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.

John Lennon

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon110323.html#XwRMH4sXd30W7H3a.99

When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.

John Lennon

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlennon110323.html#XwRMH4sXd30W7H3a.99

“When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly helppleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me’ — you just scream.” – John Lennon

When was the last time you asked for help?

Take your time. I will sit right here and wait.

*Cue Jeopardy theme music*

Was it last week? Last month? Last year?

I know some of you are thinking — why is she talking about asking for help? I want to learn more about grit. Come on Desiree, teach me the secret to becoming grittier!

Here is a secret: One of the fundamental building blocks of grit is understanding that asking for, and accepting help, does not equate to weakness. It is really a strength. A strength that expands your network and opens you up to increased opportunities.

Movies, books and games teach us that a hero will gain the highest praises and glory if he or she faces “impossible” problems and magically overcomes them on his or her own. Slays the dragon…enters the dark cave…sails across the ocean. We should all be able to handle everything in life without help. Every aspect of our life should be perfect.  Our marriage, our jobs, our kids, and our home. “Look at the big “ S” on HER/HIS chest. They do everything perfectly.”

I call bullshit.

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The Net May Not Appear

Self-Doubt

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Dale Carnegie

Doubt is that voice in the back of your head that tells you cannot do something. No one is immune to this voice; some just hear it louder than others.

 Doubting is a natural human response to any unfamiliar situation. But self-doubt is about us.

Sometimes self-doubt sounds like a former teacher or lover. Sometime it sounds like a sibling or a parent. Sometime it sounds like our boss or a colleague.

Most time self-doubt actually sounds like our own voice.  Doubt sounds like our past failures and our fears. It feels like self-criticism and self-judgment and it’s an old coat that we get incredibly comfortable wearing.

Doubt hurts our life. Because at the bottom of doubt sits one agonizing nugget—the fear of making a mistake. Or should I say the fear of making another mistake.  Somewhere along the way we made a mistake and society told us to never, ever do that gain.

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Mastery Demands Everything

artist

Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” – Albert Einstein

                       

 So who are the grittiest folks I know?

There are many attributes that help create grit. Today I want to talk about one that truly fascinates me. The concept of mastery.

Mastery.

Throughout history certain people have become Masters  of their craft. Masters with a capital M.

I’m sure you can name 5 off the top of your head with no trouble.   I immediately think of artists like DaVinci, Yo-Yo Ma, Fellini, Hemingway, and Gauguin.

These folks are legends…. Masters.

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They Will Expect The Same Of You

2013-09-05 21.09.12

Josiah Franklin and Abiah his wife lie here interred. They lived lovingly together in wedlock fifty-five years. Without any estate, or any gainful employment, by constant labor and industry, with God’s blessing, they maintained a large family comfortably, and brought up thirteen children and seven grandchildren reputably. From this instance reader, be encouraged to diligence in thy calling and distrust not Providence.

~  Epitath  Benjamin Franklin’s parents

Research has found that as a trait, grit had better predictability for success than status or privilege.

Did you hear me… better than status or privilege.  You are welcome.

That changes the game. It creates more awesome.

I once heard it said that grit is the original app for getting stuff done. It’s old school and I like it.

A lot of people don’t want, nor do they expect you to be successful or get things done.  Why?

Because they won’t do it themselves and they will expect the same of you.

They will expect nothing.

It could be that you are trying to change an industry. Create something new. You could be creating a legacy for your family or easing some constant pain in your community.

Whatever it is you are trying to do, many folks will tell you it cannot, or should not be done. Others will doubt you and even worse, you will doubt yourself.

You will tell yourself stories about what a screw up you are or how you are not connected enough or how you are too much or how you are not enough.

Those are things you can get over or under or walk through to get to the other side – If you believe you can. If you do the work.

The cost of doubt is far reaching and the price of inaction is great.

That is the best reason ever to raise your middle finger high and to tell the world  ” watch me be awesomer“.

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Breaking the Code

2013-11-30 21.06.43

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 We attain freedom as we let go of whatever does not reflect our magnificence- Alan Cohen

I have seen a lot of people selling formulas and 12 step plans that promise success and riches. I have to be honest, I am not a fan and I just don’t believe in them. I think success for organizations and for individuals comes from consistent hard work and calculated risk taking. You play the short and long game every day.

You write when you don’t want to.

You run when you don’t feel like it.

You have the difficult conversation when it needs to happen.

You get up every day and make the next call, close the next project, take the next phone call.

Because if it was easy we would all be Steve Jobs, or Oprah.

We would all wake up tomorrow to start the next Microsoft or be the next Seth Godin.

Why do some people turn into the next champion while others don’t? They stay in the game. They continue to play. They show up.

Magnificence can’t be bought on the internet for $149.99 or revealed in 6 easy steps.

Magnificence is born from grit and perseverance.

What is grit?

The dictionary says it is a noun: firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck

Grit comes from within, and none of us are stopped from building this attribute and growing our grit muscle.

No one is.

We have media and society that will tell you in subtle and not so subtle ways that you can’t do something.

Any of the following feel or sound familiar?

  • Girls don’t study THAT.
  • Our kind don’t ski or snow or surf.
  • We have never entered that field, or market before
  •   You are from THIS neighborhood and we just don’t do those types of things.
  • We don’t play to THAT type of music.
  • You are not smart enough to do that kind of work.
  • You are too old.  You are too young.
  • You are not the right sex or the right color or the right ethnicity·
  • You did not attend the right school or get the right degree.
  • Your organization has never done anything like that before.
  • That stage is too big.

Over the next few blog post I will discuss the essential foundation work to help increase grit in your life or organizations. I will be discussing things like the importance of collaboration and flexibility, humility and persistence.

Before we explore those I want to say one thing that I think is essential before we dig in–I want you to  think about what is truly important for you.

Truly. Important.

What are you willing to go to the mat for? What battle are you willing to stand and fight for? What are you willing not to compromise on—not today, not tomorrow, not ever?

Because, great life changing work demands that we be willing to fight for it.

 

 

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Grit

2013-10-02 19.18.04

The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right? ~ Will Smith

  I have given up a lot in life.  I am not proud of it, but its true.

I was a really talented kid.  Academics came easy. Meeting people just happened naturally….no socially awkward moments. Folks liked me and I never had to put forth a whole lot of effort.

 I was charming.  Sometime in certain situations it was enough.

So whenever faced with something that I could not do well. …I mean do well immediately, the first time out the gate. I did what all genius’ do… I quit.

Gave up.                      

Mocked it.

Announced it wasn’t cool.

I was such a douche, but those days are over.   The older  Desiree knows this to be true: You will not outwork me. You will not out hustle me .

In my youth I was not willing to do the one thing that would have brought me victory.

Follow through.

 The researcher’s call it deliberate practice. I call it showing up and doing the work.

Deliberate practice isn’t fun and is consistently rated as the least enjoyable form of self-improvement ever in the history of the world. EVER.

Success in the real world depends on sustained performance, on being able to work hard at practice and at the day to day grind. The differences between expert performers and normal adults  is not due to some magic gene, or status or class , privilege or IQ.  The differences reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance.

Showing up and doing the work. Not whining about it, not talking about  it, not dreaming about it.

Working. … Action and heart moves the needle.

It takes grit to not give up, to stay in the game and show up every day. When things are hard, and uncomfortable. When things feel unsafe  and you feel alone.

 I wasn’t born with grit, but over the years I have taught myself to be grittier. I have raised my grit score and in so raised my level of success.  The grittier person runs the marathon, not the sprint.

So can you.

We have test that measure  IQ and to some extent talent, but no one has come up with a test to predict if you will show up and do the work.

No one knows that but you.

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