Where Is Your Hungry Man?

Each of us has a better, hungrier leader located deep inside. Some know how to tap readily into this hungry self and bring him or her to the table on a daily basis. This hungry man has drive and determination. He goes out and kicks tale. He works relentlessly days and sometime nights on meeting his goals. He dreams, thinks, eats, sleeps his next victory. The goal is always out in front. When he speaks, you can tell that he is serious about his missions. This hungry man leans forward in the conversations and in the meetings. He takes charge and others around him have innate confidence that he will deliver.

And you? Where is your hungry man? How deep down is he buried? And what will it take for you to let him out of his cage?

I know you. I have seen before the traits of this hungry man inside of you. He has risen to the surface when you have crossed finished lines, started and sold a company, brought forth your best on past projects, or tackled weight lost But right now… he has gone into hibernation.

NOW it is time for you to wake your hungry man up.

You can always get your job back

Fear holds you back from doing something new, adventurous and more significant. And fear holds you back from leaving the comfort of a job you know and do well, for the pursuit of the unknown, for the possibilities that lay ahead.

Think for a moment about your current, comfortable job. It’s familiar. You have achieved a modicum of ‘expertise’. Currently, your employer is satisfied with your leadership or output. The paycheck is predicable but not amazing. The days (or nights) can be a grind of ‘the usual’. It is safe.

Hear this and think for yourself whether it’s true… You can always get your job back.

But not your dreams and not the missed adventures.

If necessary, you can re-apply and re-hire for that same exact job. Maybe not with the same employer, but if all of the things I stated above are true, you can again work in the same industry at the same level doing the exact same tasks for about the same pay that you are making now. If you are comfortable (translated, not scared but not excited ) you can always be comfortable again.

But what about your dreams? What about the possibilities of a better paycheck, new leadership opportunities, or a nonprofit initiative that you know just needs to begin? What have you to lose….?

Nothing. Because we just established that you can always get your job back.

Compete Until You Are 80!

I want to compete until I’m 80! These three and a half minutes of audio from Colin Cowherd are absolutely on target. What a great interview question this would make as you hire new team members, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”

Take a listen: Compete until you are 80

My favorite quote from this rant:
“Do you want to compete? Do you want to be in the game or do you want to be watching if from the sidelines?”

Repeating Excellence

How bad to you want to have repeating excellence?

Repeating excellence is daunting. Heck, achieving a high level of excellence one time is very, very challenging. That companies like Apple, Ralph Lauren, Mercedes can do it over and over again in such a competitive market place is astonishing.

Consider the olympic games. The Ryan Lochte & Micheal Phelps competition at the olympics has me fired up, especially now after seeing some of the results. I like bravado, however, coming in to the games, I sure thought Lochte had a bit too much to say in his interviews given that he had never turned in performances at an olympics or any other event the way that Phelps has been able to in the past. It has to be gratifying for Phelps to perform at a high level this olympics, even though he hasn’t nearly sniffed the same level of excellence that he had in 2008.

Repeating excellence takes daily sacrifice.
Repeating excellence takes discipline.
Repeating excellence hard work and diligent thought that very few others are willing to give.

So, when do you get up each morning and go to work?
What sacrifices are you making?
And how bad to do you want to be successful?

Confidence and Curiosity Should Not Be Diminishing Resources

It bothers me that the older people get and the more life experience that we all gain, that I see most people experience a diminishing amount of confidence. Equally perplexing is the trend towards ‘less curios’ instead of ‘more curious’ about the world, people, science, imagination, the outdoors, adventure, and personal limits.

I understand that life is fragile and I have experienced deep loss, so you can save those arguments for someone else.

Life is finite. It must be savored.

The longer that you live the more you experience life’s patterns, gain knowledge, receive insights and have opportunities with scenarios where your gifts can shine and your past can be your ally.

It is quite possible that, “Well, I’m older now” is just a lame ass excuse for people who didn’t risk and adventure more even when they were younger. I’m not buying it.  As a leader, heck even as a human, your confidence and your curiosity ought to be increasing every single year. Now go tackle something new! And have fun with it too!!

Take 51 Percent Ownership

Everyone is looking for someone else to be responsible.

You would like to receive all of the accolades and but realize none of the risk or responsibility. It is ok to admit this internally. If your job goes well, you will stake claim to the rewards that follow. However, if your job isn’t getting done then it was definitively someone else’s fault. If your project is on track, ahead of schedule, exceeding expectations and gaining the glowing attention of superiors, then you were certainly the catalyst behind netted results. BUT on the other hand if the budget is over-run, the anticipated or expected results are not being achieved or there is a total melt down happening where nothing is going right, well… then in those cases, circumstances are always beyond your control.

Every boss, Sr. leader, employer, spouse and friend is looking for a partner who will take some responsibility. They are looking for an individual who approaches every situation with a spirit and attitude of ownership. We are all tired of people who won’t take control of their own lives, realities and projects.

So… try this simple adjustment.

See every item in your life as though you are at least 51% responsible for the outcome.

For those of you who are challenged mathematically, this means you are more than a half owner in the results of your job, project, marriage, finances, relationships and outcomes… I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.

Take inventory. Where are you sloughing off on your share of ownership? Leadership is ownership. Leadership is walking into every situation in your life and grabbing hold of it, expecting the outcome can be positive. Get started and own stuff!

The Pushing Games

It is not nice to push. Ask any mother, teacher or elementary school principal. Even ask the youngest kids on the playground and they will confirm that this is true. It just isn’t nice to push. But yet, in school yards all across America it still happens, though much less than it used to. In our children an ethos is being cultivated that is coming to define our culture: Under no circumstance is it ok to push someone else.

We don’t push when we play. So now we give out medals for all participants at all ages of youth sports. Most leagues don’t even have standings and most parents become irate if coaches make kids run, do push-ups or raise their voices at the children.

We don’t push at school. Standardized tests epitomize an academic system that seems doomed to helping kids be competently average, not learning to reach for their best or most interesting skills.

We don’t push in our relationships. Being pleasant, nice, on the surface and uncontroversial in our friendships is far more highly valued than addressing real issues, talking deeply about subjects that matter or exploring the counter point to a decision that a loved one is about to make.

Leaders push. It doesn’t have to be sharp or always painful, but a leader is someone who challenges, stretches, and at times goes against norm. They don’t accept average, easy, or good enough. A leader pushes to bring out the best in others. Their goals are victory, higher performance, healthier individuals, deeper relationships, excellence.

This fantastic book, Iron War by Matt Fitzgerald, illiterates this concept through the sport of triathlons. Pick it up and you will be mesmerized by how two men, Mark Allen and Dave Scott, pushed each other to become the very best. Thrilling. And very, very useful.

Not Every Skateboarder Is A Loser

But default thinking might lead you to believe that most kids who spend endless afternoons at the skate park are wasting away valuable time and have nothing but aimless futures in store for themselves. Every time I go to the park I see…

physical exertion
a hunger to acquire new skills

Perhaps the next and most important breakthroughs will be birthed by teens who are currently grinding away and pursuing excellence in the park?

Go Ahead, Be Elite And Be Confident

At the beginning of the season, Eli Manning was asked by a reporter if he was an elite quarterback, playing at a comparable level to Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. His answer… “Yes.”

Much was made of his response. Pundits don’t have better things to do with their time than debate performance, wins, losses, and a whole host of subjective criteria.

Sunday Eli Manning won his second Superbowl Championship. He also won his second Superbowl MVP award. Mr. Manning also had one of the best statistical Superbowls ever played at his position. He is now easily one of the best of all time in the category that really matters… Superbowl wins.

There is a fine line between arrogance and false humility. In that middle ground is an admirable trait of leadership: Confidence. Confidence breeds confidence in others. Confidence combined with performance cultivates a team. Teams accomplish missions.

Develop your skills. Become one of the best at what you do. Don’t be afraid of being forthright when you are asked a direct question about the nature of your skills. Give an honest assessment. Go out on the field and prove it. Enjoy the victories that are sure to follow with your teammates.