Making a Difference (Daily)

Make a Difference May 2019

I start each day with the purpose of making a difference.  Changing the entire world continues to prove to be beyond my ‘super powers’ so I focus on the small victories in life.

The picture above hangs next to my front door, so I must pass it on my way out into the world.  It is a simple reminder to ensure my focus remains on the small victories in life that can make a difference to someone.

My psychology educational background was selected because of a desire to understand others better.  My thought process has always been to understand what makes people do or think what they do.  Psychology provided me with the foundation to understand the importance of helping others.  Please note, helping someone can be as simple as asking them how their day is going.  Doesn’t have to get super deep to impact someone you cross paths with regularly.

I’ve written about the benefits of volunteering in the local community.  This small step can be a huge difference maker for your local community and especially someone who benefits from the organization you volunteer with.  Volunteer multiple times with an organization and you will begin to put smiles on the faces of people within the organization.

Mentoring others has always been a huge part of my daily routine.  My current Walk into the Future allows me additional time to reach out to my tree branches and put focus on topics they want to explore.  We always did this but now my availability enhances how often we get to check in.  I enjoy catching up with my tree branches and hearing the great things ‘they’ are doing in the world.  Following their progress and seeing how they make a difference is a highlight for me.

I’m able to expand my reach beyond my current tree branches because of my availability.  Students and organizations I was not engaged with prior are reaching out for me to help them move forward.  Some of the students knew me at FSU in passing or had a friend work with me and recommended they reach out.   I find this ‘underground referral’ process a bit flattering and it shows I’ve made enough of a difference for someone to put their friend in touch with me.  I never turn down these requests—the students have shown a tremendous amount of ambition by reaching out and requesting assistance.  Selfishly, I view this whole process as growing my tree—these new branches know they must help someone else move forward.

Working with organizations is an area I would like to expand in 2019.  I currently do some professional development/leadership consulting with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  We have several workshops planned and looking to add more to help them grow as a group.  Coordinating with a few local groups to highlight the Authentic Leadership principles for them to incorporate within their leadership development programs.  This process would expand my reach and provide a larger group to ensure I’m making a difference.

So, until I gain additional ‘super powers’, making a difference daily is how I plan to conquer the world! 😊

What can you do to make a difference today?  Who would benefit from hearing from you?  Don’t make them wait—reach out and make a difference!

Make a Difference 2 May 2019

Walk into the Future—What it means to me

 “I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

Wanted to dive deeper into the title of my blog, Walk into the Future.  Last year I decided to change my mindset and physical space to embark on a journey.  This journey was designed to allow me to experience a level of freedom that wasn’t present, but I knew existed—just had to open my eyes a bit and walk forward.

Merriam Webster defines future in multiple ways, “time regarded as still to come AND what is going to happen”.  Both versions provide a flexible view and allows individuals to determine what the future means to them.

I selected Walk into the Future as my title to embrace the future and identify the courage to move forward.  This forward approach covers personal and professional adventures as well as insight I want to share with readers.  I created this project to share my ‘walk’ and provide insight into important concepts for me.  There are days I sit down to write, and the words just come to me.  There are other days where I will reach out to my tree branches to see what they want/need to read and then develop content around their inputs.  I am keenly aware of my surroundings, so inspiration comes to me from multiple outlets, I just capture an idea and then work to develop into something readable.

My Walk into the Future (so far) has allowed me to:

  • Post blog articles weekly
  • Get back down to Jamaica
  • Visit Paisley Park
  • Improve my half-marathon time (3 times)
  • Mentor others (in-person and virtual)
  • Serve as a professional development vendor with the Seminole Tribe of Florida
  • Gain followers for my blog
  • Inspire people
  • Live life

I could add more things here but believe you can see the positives I’ve experienced from posting blog articles on my current walk.

Walk into the Future has become a life style for me and I’m excited to see how it develops moving forward.

Remember, enjoy the process—walk, don’t run!

What does Walk into the Future mean to you?  How can you leverage this concept in your daily walk?  Interested to hear from you—thanks!

 “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

Future May 2019

Please Feed the Unicorns

Unicorns: something unusual, rare or unique. (Merriam-Webster)

The term or concept of the mythical unicorn comes up in my conversations from time to time.  The unicorn can symbolize different things for people; from the image of a horse like creature with a single horn, to a magical being or someone who is unique.

I’ve been called a unicorn in multiple settings.  I wear this designation as a badge of pride because being a unicorn means I have a uniqueness about me.

My life and career pivots have taken me from a computer analyst, classroom instructor, conference planner (US Air Force), career specialist (Macon State College), guidance counselor (Government contractor), adjunct psychology professor (multiple schools), employee development consultant (Goodwill), employer relations (UCF & FSU) and now a blogger/consultant/speaker.  The ability to adapt and believe I can pivot into different settings/outcomes generates the unicorn concept some associate with me.

I have a lot of great mentors and friends who provide advice and support to ensure I’m prepared for the next pivot.  The efforts from my mentors/friends/tree branches provide me with a platform to stretch my professional boundaries to ensure I’m continually growing.

How do they do that?  They feed the unicorn:

  • Display a desire to partner
  • Willing to share knowledge
  • Expert listeners
  • Words and actions match (Consistency)
  • Regular check-ins
  • Positive affirmations
  • Tough love when needed

The list above can be used by YOU to feed the unicorns you meet in your daily lives.  You can add more ‘feeding’ variables based on the unique situations encountered but my list is a starting point to engage others daily.  I’m sure there’s someone you work with who would benefit from being treated as a unicorn.  They may not realize their uniqueness or potential until you start to feed the unicorn.  You may be surprised by the number of unicorns around you once you start the feeding process.

FYI—I consider everyone who follows and/or reads the Walk Into the Future blog, unicorns.  My words, thoughts, and adventures are designed to help you forge your own unique path on your personal walk.

Thanks for inspiring and feeding me as well!

Unicorn

The Big Gulp: How do you handle it?

View life situations from all angles before making a decision.

“I never do business with anyone where I have to take a big gulp to move forward”.

(9 Things You Simply Must do to succeed in Love and Life)

The quote above comes from a book written by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Henry Cloud.  It is a piece of advice he received from a mentor when faced with a big business decision.  This concept can be used in multiple situations and has been a big part of my life.

I was able to leverage this quote with one of my most positive ‘tree branches’ last week to help with a decision she was facing.  I’m encouraged with my ability to shape this quote to help my tree branch and others when faced with tough choices.

I was introduced to the written works of Dr. Henry Cloud during a career development course while finishing my masters program in Counseling/Human Relations.  The book was so influential it was the first college text book I decided to keep for my personal library.  Most days you will find this book on me as I refer to it constantly for additional insight.

The Big Gulp can be defined as the apprehension you may feel prior to making a commitment.  The commitment could be business related, personal or a combination of both.  How you handle life’s Big Gulp moments can increase your level of happiness as you move forward on your Walk into the Future.

My personal Walk into the Future has been defined by leveraging Big Gulp moments to my advantage.  I never accept deals, offers or partnerships with anyone I would have to take a Big Gulp before moving forward.  I didn’t heed this concept a few times and moved forward and regretted every minute of the partnership.  It took me a few times to experience this before I became a firm believer in this process:  when offered something I would have to take a Big Gulp before moving forward, I do not accept it.

The opportunity may seem like the best thing ever, but the Big Gulp reaction should identify additional research is needed.  The Big Gulp reaction comes from past experiences where things didn’t seem quite right or the person offering you the deal has done things in the past to make you cautious.  Trust your instincts when faced with these situations.  Better yet, run the situation by your mentors for additional insight.  I recommend you share your apprehensions with your mentors so they can provide advice to cover all angles of the decision.  The ultimate decision belongs to you but remember the Big Gulp came from somewhere.

Can you isolate the Big Gulp to something tangible?  Can you trust the person offering you the opportunity?  There are other things to consider, but these are a few to help jump start the process.

Have you ever experienced a Big Gulp moment and still moved ahead?  How did that experience work out for you?

How can you leverage the Big Gulp moving forward?  I welcome your thoughts—thanks!

References

Cloud, Henry. (2004) 9 Thing you simply must do to succeed in love and life. Brentwood, TN: Integrity.

Leaders Build People

encouragement 3

How often do you make the time to encourage others?  What benefits can a kind word from you have on the daily outcomes for someone you know?  How do leaders build direct reports into valuable team members and future leaders?

Encourage them and watch them grow!

I look for ways to reach out and help my tree continue to grow daily.  Some days it’s just a simple text to say hello and other days jumping on a phone call may be a better option to be a people builder.

A simple ‘check-in’ can be the catalyst to help someone experiencing a difficult challenge in their day.  This approval process can be what they have been craving but didn’t know they needed.

Leaders can bring this concept into the work environment by having a complete understanding of their staff members. Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses can enhance this process.  Look for ways to emphasize and cultivate the strengths of your team to unlock hidden potential.  Also look for opportunities to encourage team members to stretch their skills for additional growth.  Leaders who encourage their people to test their limits and provide a foundation for growth are ‘people builders’.

I make it a point to tell direct reports, “I don’t care if you make a mistake, just don’t make the same mistake twice”.   This statement is my way to let people know they are encouraged and should explore additional ways to get things accomplished in the work environment.  We constantly hear about work place diversity but at times hinder the process of diverse thoughts, ideas and concepts.

‘Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it’. (Colin Powell)

Everyone wants to be valued—plant the seeds today and watch the people around you grow.  Show an authentic belief in them and their overall success.  This concept can be utilized in the work environment and with daily interaction with family, friends and others you cross paths with.  Take the time to showcase the ‘positive’ when communicating throughout the day.  Go ahead and give that vote of confidence to someone who is considering making a big change in their professional or personal life.  Your encouragement may be the thing they need to move forward.

You become a ‘people builder’ when you provide the nudge, advice or encouragement needed to help them Walk into The Future.

Who can you build up today?

Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2019

‘None of us can change our yesterdays but all of us can change our tomorrows’ (Colin Powell)

2018 was a great year and looking forward to having a great 2019 as well!

I’m sure you will hear Happy New Year for the next few weeks, so I decided to get my version in via a blog post.  Positive thoughts lead to positive actions so let’s use the New Year vibe to create a road map for your personal and professional success.

I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions because the construct behind these resolutions have an air of whimsy.   Most resolutions are stated with an almost ‘either/or’ prospect without the foundation for future growth or success.

I sit down each January and generate a list of goals I will accomplish in the New Year.  These goals range from travel locations, fitness targets, professional pursuits, community involvement and reading plans for the year.  Generating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Based) goals provides a template to determine progress towards meeting a specific goal.  The ability to gauge progress towards stated goals provide a level of satisfaction and accountability to meet or exceed a goal.  I also leverage an accountability partner who receives a copy of my goals and checks on progress throughout the year.

 

smart goals 2019

I routinely advise direct reports and mentees to generate 3 SMART goals in the following areas:  professional and personal.  This process has helped them set goals to ensure the new year will bring the success they seek.  Please note:  3 SMART goals are the minimum I request from my tree; most create a robust number of goals in these areas and others depending on their professional and personal needs.

Use the early days of 2019 to get organized and create goals that will enhance your entire 2019!  Don’t wait, get moving towards the productive year and outcomes you want to see!

Let’s energize your Walk into the Future!

What goals do you have for the New Year?   

The Humble Leader

close up photography of a cellphone
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

The concept of the humble leader sounds contradictory to what most people envision in the workplace.  The traditional leadership view (real or perceived) cast leaders as hard charging, take no prisoner and only out for themselves.

Humility: the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s importance, rank, etc. (Dictionary.com)

A true leader understands you lead people and manage programs.  Not the other way around.

A humble leader displays a level of self-awareness within the workplace to ensure growth for everyone.  A humble leader does not seek or need the spotlight to highlight the great work of the team.  The humble leader can inspire better team cohesion, eagerness to learn and a better performance outcome for their teams.

The process of leading by example and a leader with a humble approach when working with individuals and teams is an excellent example of this concept.  This consistent approach provides a template for others to follow and allows the team to perform knowing the true nature of their leader.

Humble leaders:

  • Build relationships
  • Listen
  • Enable trust in the workplace
  • Show appreciation
  • Reflect
  • Display authenticity

A humble leader puts the needs of others before themselves.  This could be a simple process of ensuring direct reports have the tools needed to perform their duties.  Sounds simple but how many times are work assignments delegated with deadlines, but instructions/tools needed to perform are not provided.  The humble leader looks to provide tools needed to ensure overall team success.  They are also not afraid to ask questions to ensure the assignment is fully understood.  Asking follow-up questions does not show weakness but shows the leader cares and wants to optimize time spent on a specific project.

Being a humble leader does not imply weakness.  Humble leaders are always looking to improve themselves and focus on larger, organizational goals—not just their individual goals.

A leader is best when people hardly know that they exist. (Lao Tzu)

What impact does humility have within your current work environment?  How would this concept enhance overall productivity in the work environment?

 

 

 

 

Walk-up Music

Walkup music image

Major League Baseball (MLB) players leverage music to help in their in-game preparations.  The concept of hearing music at MLB games is not new but today’s modern players have really stepped up their games and insert their personalities and thoughts into their ‘Walk-up’ music selection.  Walk-up music is what you hear as a hitter steps up to the plate for an at-bat or a pitcher enters the game.  The music is normally picked by the hitter or pitcher and played over the stadium speakers to energize the crowd and the specific player.

View a list of 2017 Walk-up music here:  https://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/04/mlb-walk-up-songs-list-best-nelly

As you can see, the players select a wide range of music to represent them and to hype them up.

So, why are we discussing Walk-up music as part of your Walk into the Future?

Excellent question!  How do you get ready to tackle your day?  What actions do you take before giving a big presentation at work?  What impact would your personal Walk-up music have on your daily interactions?

Incorporating Walk-up music or some semblance into your daily interactions can provide the inspiration needed to accomplish your task.  Not saying you will have music blasting over a stadium PA system, but you can find your inspiration in music to generate the mindset needed for success.

As an introvert I still need an extra push prior to any speaking engagement I have.  My speaking engagements range from on-campus workshops, Chamber of Commerce presentations, Economic Vitality Council recruiting events and Keynote speaker responsibilities.  Most people who have seen me in front of a crowd assume I don’t experience nerves or anxiety before I take the stage.  Well, truth be told even with the amount of speaking I have done, I still need that extra push to get me prepared to speak and deliver the content needed.

I have leveraged Walk-up music my entire professional career like MLB players are doing.

Big presentation for me and I go directly to an 80’s Hip Hop classic by Eric B and Rakim:  Move the Crowd.  This song reminds me the main reason I’m speaking is to connect with my audience and provide them with content they can use.  It reminds me to lock in and focus on what I’m saying, how it’s said and why it’s needed.  I play this music in the car, on the computer or on my phone prior to my presentation.

I switch up my Walk-up music and where it’s played when I do Keynote speaking.  I have a love for Reggae music and the ‘Irie’ vibe it provides.  I like to play Bob Marley music for my audience prior to my introduction.  The Reggae sounds helps relax and focus me and seems to put the audience members into a great mood to receive my message.  I always play the song Jammin’ right before I’m ready to take the stage and impart my words of wisdom on the audience.  Again, the concept of Walk-up music is designed to get me and the audience ready in these situations.

So, I ask again:

  • How do you get ready to tackle your day?
  • What actions do you take before giving a big presentation at work?
  • What impact would your personal Walk-up music have on your daily interactions?

Look to generate your own Walk-up music ideas to help you during the day.  Leverage this concept to help mentally prepare for that big presentation you have coming up.  Find the music needed to help you thrive and enjoy the process.

Let me know your final selections for your Walk-up music!  Thanks!

Walkup music stats