Top Finds for 2008

By random thought last year I decided to create a brief list of my top finds for the year.  Most of it was specific to the Web, bust some non-Web too.  I think I'm gonna make it a tradition. 

So here's my list (in random order) for 2008:

  • The Weekly Leader from Peter Mello.  I love the format and content of this site.
  • Lois Kelly's blog: Blog Hound for great marketing insight.
  • John Kotter's book: A Sense of Urgency.
  • Jeremiah Owyang's blog: Web Strategy by Jeremiah.
  • The team at Webbed Marketing.  I dig their work and thoughts.
  • Inside Work.  I've used them to help leaders grow.
  • James Suckling's blog.  A great writer and I love his insights on Tuscan wine.
  • Runner's World (magazine and site).  Not really new for 2008, but has helped me in a big way with my running.
  • Curt Smith's blog
  • Terry Walling's revamped site and blog.  He got back to blogging again, and I am the better for it.
  • Joseph Langford's book on Mother Teressa.

Here's to more great finds in 2009.  Happy New Year!

All Around You

I read this over weekend from The Wall Street Journal Weekend…Peggy Noonan's book recommendations, I believe.  The content relates to Mother Teresa and a recent book by Joseph Langord.

    "In this book, based on her letters, writings and conversations, he tells of how
she came to serve "the least, the last, and the lost," not as a female Albert
Schweitzer but as "a mystic with sleeves rolled up." Father Langford tells the
story of her encounter on the train, of what was said, of what she heard, and of
the things he learned from her including, most centrally, this: You must find your own Calcutta.
You don't have to go to India.  Calcutta is all around you.

I added the bold and italics because of how much the statement means to me.  I hope it hits home with you as well.

Don’t Give Up

Stormy Weather

Considering the level of concern on faces I've seen and the hearts and minds connected, I thought I would give you a link to a post I wrote some time ago titled "What Happen When I Was Told to Leave."  It deals with my personal journey after being asked to leave my last corporate America job.

My life is so different and better since that wounding (being told to leave).  I can only hope it encourages you (if it fits) to not give up.  I also hope it will encourage you that every story has tense moments and disappointments, but those are designed to help you to see the possibilities of a new life/career/calling.

Obviously, this is easier to write than to live.  But I can tell you that the above post is stamped with integrity (whole not part).  Know that you're not alone.

Difference Making-2008 Versions

I've always believed that I have grown because of those who've been kind enough to pour their lives into mine.  In that spirit, here is a list of people who practiced the art of difference making in my life:

Eileen Pennington
Scot Herrick of Cube Rules
Anna Farmery of The Engaging Brand
Marshall Goldsmith
Terry Walling of Leader Breakthru
Matthew Scott of the Life's Work Group
Marc Michaelson of the Glowan Consulting Group
Ryan Bettencourt of Learn From My Life
Nina Simosko
Michelle Malay-Carter Mission Minded Management


I am better for the brilliant light they have left me. 

I Want My Leadership Development-Now

In times of crisis (economic or otherwise) organizations begin to think about leadership.  Actually, they think of it often.  What they do about it is another thing.

I feel for those organizations that neglected growing leaders when profits were up.  That would have been the best time to change the world.  But alas, those were the "best laid plans." 

If you run an organization that has never given much thought to leader development, then I would advise you to prepare for a great deal of pain (it is worth it).  The pain process goes like this:

  • The process of announcing an initiative that many will not believe or take seriously.  Shucks, you've rolled out initiatives as frequently as you lose employees.
  • After the above, you've got to lead your people thru the treacherous waters of change (the present state to the desired state).
  • If you make it past change, you've got to now make it a part of the organization's DNA.

This is not an easy endeavor.  I think you can understand why these organizations mostly hang themselves on leadership development as a talking point.  You know what I mean; it feels better when you say leadership development versus living it.

I don't mean to sound Grinchy, but best not to sugar coat.  It's sort of like a 62 year-old worker who started planning for retirement 5 years ago.  Is it too late?  No, but it will hurt.

I may be all wet about where we're at, so find out for yourself.  Ask this tough question:

What are we/you specifically doing to grow your leadership?

The answer to that question will reveal a lot.

The Two Paths to Great Leadership

 Two roads           

Had a great conversation with Marc yesterday.  We spoke a lot about future plans with our two companies, but it was his brief statement below that made me pause:

    "You have two paths you can go on in this environment.  One says this sucks, and the other says I see an opportunity."

Those words cconfirmed mmuch in my heart. 

Even when things have been bad, I have gravitated toward optimism.  No applause needed here.  Many (family, friends, and associates) have come to count on me for looking up.  This hasn't always been easy.

Even in the times where I wondered if Epic Living would make it, I wrote from the perspective of optimism.  Why?  You don't need another source/media that communicates how bad things are-in my life or the world as a whole.  Believe me, this is not lofty fee-good babble.  It hurts me when people fall into the quick sandd of pessimism.

I know that many are experiencing difficult times right now.  But could these hard times be the preparation ground for your greatest opportunity?  I fear that many could miss it because of that quick sand I mentioned.  Pure gold can't come about without some intense heat.

The real battle is in our heads.