Monday, October 17, 2011

Nine Promises to Live By
One of my favorite times of the day is our family book study.  It’s a time of reading a leadership book from the TEAM LIFE Leadership system and sharing it with our kids.
We adopted book study into our family after spending time with Orrin and Laurie Woodward and sharing in the tradition with their family.  It has been a blessing in our lives since day one.
The blessing comes in watching our children as they learn to think.  After the passage is read, each child is asked to explain what he or she got out of the selection of the day with the focus of applying it to his or her life.  Oh the answers we’ve heard!  Sometimes they make our jaws drop in amazement and other times they make us bite our lip as we try to keep a straight face as the answers are, well.... creative!  It is priceless time and training.  
Presently we are reading John Wooden’s book, Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on and off The Court.   This book is packed with golden nuggets of leadership principles to live by.  I think the reason I  appreciate Wooden’s principles so much is they mirror those espoused by the leadership of TEAM LIFE.  Success principles are success principles, and Wooden is just another example of right principles achieve the right results: success!
Today’s reading was particularly good. The passage was called, Nine Promises That Can Bring Happiness.  Just the title alone makes one stop and think. Promises..... interesting choice of words.  From all I’ve read on John Wooden, I can’t imagine him as one to throw around words lightly.  That’s why the phrase: Promises that Can Bring Happiness, struck me.  After reading through them, I can see why he says that.  As I sat there this morning listening to Marc read, I let each roll around in my head.  
As I was thinking through the day, I examined my own life and asked the tough question, “How am I doing applying these in my life?”   I invite you to read them over and take time to do a little PDCA in your own life as well. I think it’s worth the time.
Nine Promises That Can Bring You Happiness, pg. 79
  1. Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.
  2. Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.
  3. Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best of yourself and others.
  4. Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. 
  5. Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  6. Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.
  7. Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.
  8. Promise to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others. 
  9. Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you


Monday, October 10, 2011

Good is the Enemy of Great

In rereading Jim Collins' book, Good to Great, I was struck by the opening chapter on that very topic and the simple difference between the two.

Good is easy.  Good is what most people do.  The path of good is paved with our intention of doing all we can for all the people we can.  It is paved with many interesting tasks to put our time into,  often doing what we enjoy or what makes us feel valued.  Being the chair of this committee and a member of that association and part of this league, which there is nothing wrong with, but when I see people get caught up in this mostly I see people who end up busy and wonder why they can't be great in anything.  Busying our lives pursuing so many different avenues often makes us feel tired and frazzled and not very intentional at all.  It  is really hard to give your all to something if you give your little to everything.

In thinking about the difference between good and great, the word intentional strikes me as the key to discovering how to move into the realm so many wish for, and what so few plan for: Greatness.  Greatness doesn't come in doing everything.  Greatness comes in doing fewer things but doing them intentionally. I have a lot of things in my life that I like to do, but I am intentional about the things I spend time on so I can continue to strive to be great.

Greatness is really about focusing on a few priorities and zoning in on the little things.  This morning, as I led my family in our daily book study of  Wooden, a Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and off the Court,  we learned about the simple value of the little things.  On page 64, Wooden tells the story of teaching grown men how to put on socks and tie shoes.  My kids thought that was funny!  Why would he teach them how to put on socks and shoes?  But what John Wooden knew, was that which was hidden in the little things is the intentional effort to be GREAT.   When you pick the priorities in your life and choose to go on a journey to be great as Wooden says, "Success is in the details."

I wasn't always aware that I was making choices that were keeping me good instead of great.  I didn't understand how being intentional about the choices I made and how I spent my time would make a difference.  It wasn't until I started in business with Orrin Woodward that it began to make sense.  The self directed education that I started on, one that included reading and listening and associating with others on the journey to greatness, was when I started to see the path was very different than I thought.

It isn't just that John Wooden cares about the little details, it's that he and the hundreds of others that have achieved greatness in their given fields care about the little details.  They care about being intentional with what they read, listen to, who they associate with and where to put their time and money.  The little details are what matter.  The little details determine the difference between good and great. 

Orrin Woodward( lives his life being intentional about the little details.  Every hour of his day is carefully crafted to be lived toward achieving his purpose.  Every book he reads is toward his purpose, who he associates with and what he allows himself to listen to all matter as I watch him intentionally pursue greatness by pursuing his purpose.   By watching and learning from him, I have begun to understand what it will take in my life to begin to live toward greatness.

I have a long way to go, but  every day I am intentional about the little things in my life.  What I read, listen to, who I associate with and what goes into every hour of my day.  Being on the  journey to greatness will always be better than being a part of the plethora of good.