Today’s challenge: We must take time to introduce ourselves to people we’d normally walk right past. We might be genuinely surprised by who they are. That’s right, we need to take risks and introduce ourselves to those we sit next to, the barista, or that neighbor we always see but don’t know. What are their stories? How might we serve? What might we learn from them? These people are in our lives, yet we’ve probably never had a lengthy conversation with them, because we couldn’t see their value to us. What if there was significant value there, but we just didn’t know it yet? Would that change our desire to interact with them? How many new friends can you make today, and what stories can you discover?
Are you in, or are you out?
What may start out as us taking on an early leadership role to avoid the mundane, 9-to-5 job of achieving someone else’s dreams can sometimes lead to questioning who we are and why we’re working so hard! Aren’t “leadership” roles supposed to be easier than “worker” roles? Hell, no! Real leaders share the burden with their team when it gets too heavy, keeping their team focused by ensuring they are properly prepared to handle the heat, stress and unfair realities of everyday life. We step into the leadership gap because we want to make a positive difference. Leadership comes with the high price of determination, dedication and responsibility. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Are you going to step up, or should you step out?
It seems that recognized leaders and established businesses generate bigger and brighter opportunities simply because they’ve become well known. The fact is, it takes years (or even a lifetime) to create enduring success in any field. We must open our minds, keep a watchful eye, and create an occasion to bring value to those around us … then opportunity will find us. We must stop focusing on the timing of that big break and worrying about whether it will come complete with a neon sign pointing toward success. Every interaction and every connection is a critical step on our path to significance. Don’t miss any critical steps on that path by passively waiting for opportunity to come knocking! What opportunity will you create to serve others today?
We often rely on the reflection of a mirror to assess our physical appearance. But isn’t the reflection only as good as the mirror? Partially. In reality, it’s based mostly on our own PERCEPTION of ourselves. For example, someone who’s anorexic sees fat where none exists. This truth is not limited to our physical being, but to all areas of our self-perception. Think professionally, relationally, spiritually … or wherever we’re seeking excellence. Our perception may be totally off the mark, and that’s when we need to throw out the mirror and stop lying to ourselves. Often only mentors and loved ones can truly reflect reality to us. Who are you using to reflect your true image? Are they bold enough to share the truth? Are you courageous enough to listen?
When it comes to opportunity, it’s rarely just a matter of good fortune. Not often can we say it was simply meant to be. And only sometimes can we attribute it to being in the right place at the right time. Most of the time, opportunity comes from serving others first, generating good word-of-mouth, expanding our sphere of influence, creating our own opportunities from nothing, and working hard to achieve excellence in every piece of work we put our name to. Building on our credibility, serving others, and demonstrating results will get us there. Where will your next opportunity come from?
Sometimes, no matter how organized we are, too much of our day is spent answering questions. Rather than getting through our own to-do list, we spend a disproportionate time with our team, helping them move forward with their own workloads. It’s times like these that having a daily or weekly routine can boost productivity. For example, meeting with the team each morning for a short block of time (in the hotel/restaurant industry this is called a “line up”) will cut down our time answering questions throughout the day. Also, marking out blocks of time during the week for undisturbed work, encouraging the team to do the same, works wonders. What would be the effect in productivity and morale if you tried one or both of these?
Making daily decisions is challenging for many and forces some into a severe case of analysis-paralysis, preventing them from taking action. Those gray areas of life can be difficult to negotiate, as there may not be a clear right or wrong, winner or loser. But, if at the very core of all our actions is being true to ourselves, our values and our goals, and acting in the best interest of those involved with our ventures, suddenly putting ourselves out there isn’t as challenging as we imagined. If we only take actions consistent with our values, even if the results are less than expected, at least we haven’t compromised who we are. How have you made speaking the truth on a daily basis part of who you are?