From Where I Sit – Observation 6

This is a series of musings from my big leather (really broken-in – to the point of broken-down) chair.

 

 

    • If you look in the hair-care section in many stores, you’ll find a shampoo called “Mane ‘n Tail.” The product was supposedly developed for horses, and horse trainers started using it on themselves and liked it. Really? This seemed like a good idea to someone? They were shampooing a horse’s tail and thought… “hmm, I wonder how this would work on my hair?” When is Eukanuba coming out with their “food for the masters” line? Most importantly, though, this leads me to a difficult conundrum: I have been called a “horse’s tail” many times over the years. I have usually felt somewhat offended. Should I, instead have been complimented that I was having a good hair day? If so, and if I owe any of you an apology for misunderstanding your compliment… I am sorry.

From Where I Sit – Observation 5

This is a series of musings from my big leather (really broken-in – to the point of broken-down) chair.

 

 

  • In order to lead you must have two qualities: ability and credibility. While no one wants to be led by a buffoon or to endure endless mediocrity, ability will only take one so far in the leadership realm. It is vital to have credibility with the audience. In order to follow you, they must know that you believe what you say… and live it. The word hypocrite is usually reserved to describe Christians who fail in some area of their lives, but it actually has a broader scope than that. The definition of the word according to Merriam Webster is: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. Sometimes we all fall under that definition: the environmentalist who urges us all to “go green” as he or she continues to use aerosol products and drive vehicles which emit gases that aren’t environmentally friendly; the person who believes in budget cutting… until his job is on the chopping block; and yes, the religious zealot who believes all is fair in love and business. The thing is, people don’t want to follow a leader who isn’t credible. A few years ago, John Maxwell did a study on the most important characteristics that people desire in a leader and the number one quality was integrity – saying what we mean and meaning what we say. Living what we say! Little things matter and people are certainly watching potential leaders. The way you handle things impacts your influence. That little tantrum over not getting your way or that self-absorbed attitude you display just could be the thing robbing you of your credibility to lead.

    That being said, ability matters, too. Most of us have experienced the conundrum of seeing someone put into a leadership position who is extremely passionate and committed, but lacks the skills. Whether that person is a singer, teacher, or business leader, credibility isn’t enough… we want ability. We all want to follow someone who has the ability to take us where we are going. If you feel like you aren’t being given the chances to lead which you think you deserve, examine both areas. Are you gifted in that area? Are you credible to the specific audience you want to lead?

From Where I Sit – Observation 4

This is a series of musings from my big leather (really broken-in – to the point of broken-down) chair.

 

 

  • When passion is paired with compassion they become a powerful combination. From a leadership standpoint, passion is enough to pique the interest of others, but compassion will win their hearts. The Bible tells of David’s son, Absalom, stealing the hearts of the people by daily sitting out at the gates and listening to their problems. Even though David was Israel’s greatest king and was beloved by the people for many years, he had lost sight of the importance of keeping the connection intact. Absalom never won a battle, never delivered Israel from a single enemy, and never made one sacrifice of which we are aware for the nation of Israel; yet, he was able to usurp David’s throne and the nation’s hearts by simply showing concern for their daily issues. David, on the other hand, never lost a battle, conquered all of Israel’s enemies, killed the giant (Goliath) that threatened their freedom, and gave them national security, pride, and financial stability. Yet, he made the cardinal mistake of losing touch with the people’s daily concerns. We have seen the same principal at work in our lifetimes. Repeatedly, the American public has proven that they will vote their pocketbooks over principal, national security, or even budget control. Does that make us, or the Israelites bad people? No. What it proves is that the public doesn’t really look at the big picture, and while the leader must see this big picture, he better not lose sight of all the little pictures that make up each individual’s daily life.

From Where I Sit – Observation 3

This is a series of musings from my big leather (really broken-in – to the point of broken-down) chair.

 

 

  • “Real artists ship.” Steve Jobs made this statement to an engineer who was holding onto a code, rather than making it available so that a product could be released. Walt Disney put it this way: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Far too often, we find ourselves waiting on the moment of inspiration, or even worse, waiting for the fully developed idea to come along before we launch out into the unknown. Occasionally, inspiration may come to the idle, but my experience is that it most often comes in the midst of the process. So, even if you only have a couple of small pieces of the puzzle, start fitting them together. Go ahead – just start. I once read a cup at Starbucks that said, “you call yourself a writer… what have you written today?” Well… um… what have you written today?

From Where I Sit – Observation 2

This is a series of musings from my big leather (really broken-in – to the point of broken-down) chair.

 

 

  • Excellence is only achieved by the passionate. No one achieves excellence in any field without being passionate about it. I think that we have assumed that being passionate was a sort of intrinsic desire that people have about one specific thing in their life (i.e. Paul McCartney with music, Leonardo DaVinci with art), and that they would have never achieved greatness without finding that one thing that stirred their passion. On the other hand, what if these artists were, by nature, passionate people and would have excelled in another area had their opportunities been different? The key to excellence is surely passion – and here’s another observation: the key to building an audience is passion. People will follow passion… even misguided passion, such as that of Adolph Hitler. Perhaps we should strive to be passionate people rather than trying to find something that fires our passions. It might seem like a subtle difference, but it could make all the difference. It would help us live out the mantra, carpe diem. This phrase is commonly translated as “seize the day,” however, a more accurate translation is “pluck the day,” as in picking fruit while it is ripe. It is actually part of a longer quote from the poet Horace, which is: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero (Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future). In other words, go for it today, there is no guarantee of tomorrow (my translation). What if we lived each day as if it might be our last? How would you live differently?

It is important that we recognize the responsibility that comes with this approach. Since people are attracted to (and will follow) passion, it is important that we direct our passions toward worthy causes. That should be a given. Still… imagine living a life in which you attacked each new day with passion and drive to do something significant, something artistic… something great! Sure beats “living for the weekend,” huh?