A Great Tool Named Twitter

You should consider (if you're not already doing it) writing on Twitter.  You can follow me there as well under the name epicliving.

I publish my Twitter posts on this blog (see the side columns), but your life is what Twitter needs now.  The cool part is Twitter only gives you 140 words to tell readers what you're doing, so you won't get into a time drain. 

Check it out.

Why Incongruent Values Matter

When I was much younger (a time when I thought I was invincible) I had one significant incongruent value.  That was the value around my physical health.  At barbecues or off-site business meetings I would tell the world that my physical health was important.  However, I lived a different paradigm.  I was all talk and no behavior.  It wasn't until about two years ago that my mouth, mind and heart came together.  I won't bore you with my routines for physical health, but I am in the best shape of my life.

Keep in-mind that incongruent values don't make you a bad person, but they do reveal that something is "off" in your life.  The choice to do something about it is totally up to you.  I took action when the storm clouds started to gather.  Funny how time and reality conspire to move us.

When I wrote Waking Up In Corporate America, my urgency around doing what I say increased dramatically.  I wanted to make sure that I was living up to the coaching I was dispensing.  We all need mechanisms in our lives to drive accountability.

Marshall Goldsmith has a great post on Why We Don't Do What We Say.  Marshall's perspectives are spot on.  The ideas are not new, but give a needed reminder of how important our actions are.

Remember, life is a limited time offer.  You won't get a do-over.

Letting It Play Out

In life and work it can be easy to call the game before everything plays out.  You may think that the current state is a predictor of the final outcome, but history has shown that often the result is very different.  For example, look at Great Britain after France fell to Hitler.  Many back then declared the end was near, except Churchill thought differently.  I'm glad he did.

Before you start thinking that Churchill, Hitler and WWII have nothing to do with your life and work, let me illustrate some key realities:

  • Great stories don't just play out on grand stages.  Quite frankly, grand stages set the context for the ordinary.  We often buy into the lie of "my life is not as big or wide or great as so-and-so."
  • Every life and story is fluid.  It is moving as long as the subjects are "alive." 
  • Our culture has diminished the pursuit of our stories.  We been marketed the ideas of sitting on the sideline, while the privileged few live out dreams.  It's a type of voyeurism.

If we're not careful, we'll disengage before every thing has played out.  This is hard!  But the upside is tremendous when we see things in the form of a story-our lives and work.  Without this view, betting on a "sure thing" is all you'll have stomach for.  And sure things are nothing more than code for playing it safe.  I am convinced that you must let the story play out.  No early exits.

I have a friend who works for company that frustrates him almost daily.  You could argue that some of it is his fault, but on the whole he has reason to be frustrated.  His company is mediocre.  If I were coaching him as a client I would advise him to cast a vision for a better future (with or without the company he works for), set goals around that vision, and create an action directive to see it through.  But he is not a client, so right now the issue is purely surface oriented.

So what should he do about the frustration?  I advised him to think about his company's story.  Yes, organizations have a story to live through as well.  Organizations set in motion the elements of their story through structure, people and mission.  Each of these will have tremendous impact on how their story will play out.  If the organization sees their people as nothing more than a means-to-an-end, then disengagement will settle in and take root.  You've read stories like this.  You've seen this movie before, haven't you?

We're too caught up in daily information to understand that a story always plays out over the course of time.  We wake up and our mediocre company is still open for business.  We wake up and our jerk boss is still in-charge.  These are hard realities to face, but the story hasn't fully played out.   

There is tremendous opportunity here…if you're willing to look closely.  By seeing the good and the bad, it places you in a very liberating position.  You can begin to see clearly because you've embraced the story through the lens of beginning, middle and end. Your options really open up at this point. 

Just don't make this only about work.  Your life is a story and it will play out as well.

Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn

I, like many of you, are on LinkedIn.  It is a great tool for networking and meeting new people.  It is also a significant part of your branding strategy, whether you know it or not.

Peter Clayton over at Total Picture Radio has an interview with Shally Steckerl.  He is the Chief Cyberslueth of JobMachine.  Shally is an expert in recruiting and talent management.  I picked up some great tips on making the LinkedIn experience better for me and my organization.

If you're a subscriber or regular visitor to this blog, I would be honored to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Identity

When identity is formed by "things,"  you are certainly courting disaster.  It might not happen immediately, but over time it will ruin you.  

The End of Safety and Security

Many management and career consultants have said that the idea of safety and security in the workplace is pure fantasy now.  I would say their a little late to the party.  Life/work today, and a hundred years ago, is not safe or secure.  It was never supposed to be.

Somewhere, we began to see the organization (specifically the place we worked) as "mommy and daddy."  This made total sense since as humans in a prosperous age our desire for safety and security far outweighed our desire for risk and adventure.  With organizations making many promises (pensions, health-care, etc.), many people thought that all would be well until that magical age of sixty-five.

Then things changed, as they often do.  And like the addict who realizes that their "stuff" has been taken away, people began seeing change as the enemy.  The idea of safety and security started to ebb.  All of a sudden (or so it seemed) the mirror reflected the responsible party.  The person who would need to toughen up and grow.

Far too many organizational leaders are soft.  I know this, because I was one of them.  I went to bed at night, during my time in corporate America, hoping and believing that my great future was set.  I found time to revel in my impressive numbers (sales, money, prestige, power) and I relied heavily on my own logic.  The logic that convinces you that you're loved by the organization and that you're invincible.  I didn't toughen up and grow until I was escorted out.

Image how life would look if we didn't see things as safe and secure:

  • You wouldn't be so preoccupied with what media hurls your way.
  • Bad news would still be tough to hear, but your roots would be stronger for it.
  • You' would focus more on building a great life.
  • You would embrace thankfulness and contentment.
  • You would take more risk in your career and life.
  • Your followers would know why they're following.
  • Your regrets would be few.
  • You would leave the graveyard poor.
  • The critics would be silenced.
  • Everyday you would leave a brilliant life behind.

Advice on Life from Ted Kennedy

Kennedy

Ted Kennedy has some advice for us today; Forever Now

By now, you may know that Senator Kennedy has been diagonsed with brain cancer.  My prayers go out to him and his family as he will certainly face a tremendous challenge battling the disease.  The cold reality of Senator Kennedy's situation reminded me of the fact that we're all terminal.  He, however, has the advantage/disadvantage of knowing.

People who don't know (maybe you and I) can easily put the thought out of our minds.  We figure that our end is an eternity away.  That is a very dangerous mind-set!  It's not just dangerous because one-out-of-one person dies, but because it produces the following:

  • A delay in saying the "I Love Yous."
  • Settling for the average.
  • Substituting the intangibles with the tangibles.
  • Finding self-worth in the minds of other people.
  • A disinterest in Destiny.

So if you're in a career or a life designed by the "you need to/ought to" group, get out now!  Senator Kennedy would advise you to live "forever now."