16 Keys to Creating the Year You Want
Last year I enjoyed an engagement with the owner of four Midas stores in Richmond, VA. One of them is the #1 Midas store in the U.S. Mark Smith and I have become friends.
I was fascinated by an email he sent his team. I asked permission to share *most of it.
Why do I take the approach I do?
- I don’t make choices. I create the choices that are ideal for any given situation, then optimize the outcomes.
- The voice(s) in my head are larger and louder than any other. When there are compelling reasons to turn off outside voices, I do.
- I’m willing to take action in the absence of absolute expertise.
- How I conduct myself is more important than the success I create on any given day – fact is, we’ll win some and we’ll lose some.
- I thoroughly enjoy your success. Mine is not a zero sum game.
- I pay attention to patterns, not isolated incidents.
- The quality of answers I get depends on the quality of questions I ask.
- Discipline is important. Perfection is folly.
- Once a day, I take 15 minutes to slow down, linger, savor, and absorb.
- Whenever you have lots of well-intentioned people framing a challenge differently, you get complexity.
- No amount of motivation will ever cause shame to be a motivator.
- I have no interest in learning a single skill that allows me to live a routine.
- I am a big fan of other successful people. Success is a choice that is created – not bought, earned, or entitled – chosen.
- I need to be where my feet are – always.
- She does, he does, they do. So, why not me?
- Today is yours to own. Don’t transfer ownership to anyone – that gives them rent free space in your head.
Which of these ideas resonate with you?
What might you add?
*The original list had 18 items. It’s been edited for length.
This is a blended set of ideas that come from articles in Inc, The Art of Pilgrimage, Driven to Delight, Leadership Freak, and Rotman Management Winter 2016.
My favorite: Whenever you have lots of well-intentioned people framing a challenge differently, you get complexity.
I see this challenge all the time!
“The quality of answers I get depends on the quality of the questions I ask.” So true and yet often difficult to avoid biasing the answer in the phrasing of the question.
Thanks Ed. That’s so true. If we aren’t careful, we tell people the answer we expect. I wonder how we might overcome that tendency? Perhaps one way is to avoid yes or no questions.
Dan, This jumped out at me! Seems to be the boat I ride most often.
“I don’t make choices. I create the choices that are ideal for any given situation, then optimize the outcomes.” The entire article is mind opening as always for sure.
Good stuff “Captain Dan”.
Thanks Tim. I find that one so very interesting. I’m still mulling it over. Thanks to Mark for his great email.
There is magic and power in #1! It creates a mindset that we are in control of our destiny and that we don’t have to accept as finite the options that we’re given. Never again settle for the “lesser of two evils,” but create a 3rd, 4th, or 5th way! Actually, I have several favorites from this list but #1 happens to be one that I live by. Thanks, Dan.
Thanks Christopher. Your comment really helps to clarify some of the implications of #1. Much appreciated. The idea of finding “new ways” rather than “lesser of two evils” really speaks to me.
So many great ones to choose from – but the last one really stands out to me today. Maybe tomorrow it will be the first one. And the next day it might be #13.
The concept of renting out space to others, in your head, is something that has come back to me a few times lately. Heard it as recently as yesterday actually. Too often we are letting people rent out our head space, without cost to them but at enormous cost to us because they trash the place and leave it a mess.
If you’re going to have people in your head, you might want to ensure they are equally invested in your heart. If not, let them flop out somewhere else.
Thanks Alf. You articulate something I feel as well. Today it’s #10. Tomorrow it’s #1. It seems we should hang on loosely to ideas.
The first time I heard the “rent space in your head” was from Mark. It’s powerful. Your suggest that it’s good to connect head and heart makes so much sense. It’s a great filter.
T.G.I.F.! What a great article to end the week! My favorite is #14 I need to be where my feet are – always. It reminds me to pay undivided attention to the person I am with or to stay focused on the present. This one is a keeper! Thanks, Dan.
Thanks Lisa. It’s odd that our feet can be in one place while our head/heart can be somewhere else. But, it seems to be true more frequently than I care to admit.
In order to listen, we must be present. As a professional listener, that’s important.
I mentor a few local high school kids, one of them, Alyssa, taught me this lesson, and I’ll never forget it. Always be where your feet are!
Wow! Thought stimulating.. I like this list, and I resonate with much of what’s is here.
One of my leader/mentors said this (and it stuck) “your message must distill to three Slides” as a result I’m always trying to find short sets of three!
“Leaders help others uncover and develop their God-given potentials” is a short statement I’m becoming comfortable with.. it helps avoid two dangers “the self-made danger” and the “I made you” danger.
Thanks Ken. As you know, I’m a fanatic on being as concise as possible, without being confusing. Love your statement. “Uncover” is an important word. We might tend to impose on others, rather than uncover. In other words, I might see your potential for you. (I’ve been known to do that.)
Sometimes it takes someone to see something in us that we don’t see. But, we have to see it ourselves, too. Hence, the word “Uncover” really works for me.
Wow. So many of these really hit me this morning. “I pay attention to patterns, not isolated incidents.” in particular. It is easy (lazy?) to get hung up an event and not look at a bigger picture. Today, though, my challenge to myself will be to be where my feet are (and to keep my feet from sliding on the rapidly building ice!)
Thanks Katie. Pattern recognition is a fundamental difference between those who move forward and those who get stuck. I think it’s a neglected leadership skill.
Here’s to showing up where our feet are. 🙂
Katie — go back to Dan’s note from yesterday and the pyramid. For a long time I focused on the 5% that went wrong, ignoring the other 95% of ways to recognize progress — a long term work in progress for me to be sure!
I can’t wait to read your posts everyday, Dan! Today you have shared an awesome list of wisdom. #16 resonates with me. I had a disappointing conversation with a person this morning and left the room with sadness. However, I can’t let the attitude of the person affect my thoughts and actions or “let space be rented in my head.” TGIF! -Patti
Thanks Patti. You added a context that speaks to me. Things don’t always go as we hope. If we’re not careful, we end up circling a black hole. Here’s to greater freedom.
Thanks for the comment, Dan. Amen!
“Do the best you can with what you have. stop complaining about what you don’t have or what people are not giving you”. Some of the points are similar in nature. Thanks Dan for sharing. I printed it an put it in front of my computer where I will see it every day. it also inspired my next blog. “don’t put mattresses in the dumpster” going to sit down for my number 9 tonight and type it out.
Thanks Rob. You captured a lot with that opening sentence. I find life is so much better when I worry more about me and less about others. (Especially what I think others owe me.)
I’m glad you jumped in and shared your insights.
So where is your blog?
Today I like the “rent free space in your head”. I’ve tried to get my students to understand that every day since I started teaching in 1972. Toward the end of the 1970s, my first PhD student asked why I thought that was so important and I told him a quote often attributed to Woodrow Wilson since my student was headed for a job as a professor. Wilson was quoted as saying “Washington was a snap after Princeton.” He apparently thought the politics of Princeton were so bitter because the stakes were so (relatively) small. Having “rent free space in your head” makes those stakes even smaller in my view.
Thanks Dr. Virginia. It seems that last one is getting traction we my readers. You connection between small and taking up space is fascinating.
Your client/friend has demonstrated the art of Owning the Context so others will Own the Content, reveal their Character, and create a collaborative Call for all…certainly full of wisdom. Great start to sixteen Dan.
Thanks Stephen. You’re like me. When I read the email, I thought WOW. There’s some really great stuff here. Happy New Year.
Stephen — thanks for the wording, I like it and will use it again — context vs content. Ours is about mapping gaps — we are wherever we are, and the destination is not negotiable. How to get there, in the other hand, is wide open!
WOW! Don’t let someone rent space in your head, be where your feet are (work or home), the voices in my head are loader and bigger!
Two days in a roll that you hit gold. Thank you sir for starting my day by encouraging me to hit the reset.
Thanks Walt. I must say that thanks goes to Mark Smith and everyone else who either came up with or inspired the ideas that Mark Shared.
The head rental idea seems to be taking the cake.
what resonated with me was, “I need to be where my feet are, always” being present in coaching meetings, conversation and all aspects of relationships is essential. if my mind isn’t in he same zip code as my feet I’ve got a real problem being in service to others
Thanks John. I’m with you. Better to stop and start again or stop and start later, if we aren’t there. Life is too short to miss the opportunity of being in it. 🙂
I just started following your blog yesterday! I must say…I am probably not your “usual” follower. I’m a cancer PhD biologist/researcher at a large state university. I’m hoping to find some nuggets of wisdom here as I transition into a larger leadership role. That being said…#8 is the one that caught my eye. In the scientific world, perfection is utopian.
Leslie, — in the retail service world, I’d LOVE it if perfection were utopian! Welcome to a GREAT blog!
Thanks Dr. Caromile. Welcome to the tribe. It’s pretty diverse. (CEO, students, Education professionals, managers, government officials, and even a few PhD’s) 🙂 I’m glad you’re one.
I’m a huge fan of imperfection. Imperfect progress always trumps no progress. Imperfect solutions always trump “perfect” solutions. Perfection, in this world, is a myth.
I look forward to learning from your insights. Best for the journey.
There are similarities in that we all fail forward — as we should. The stakes of failure are greater for some than others, however openly advocating failure is essential for progress
I love #7. There’s power in great coaching questions.
Impactful, been really inspired. On this journey to fulfilling destiny, God blesses you with gifts that elevate you to the spot he desires.
“How I conduct myself is more important than the success I create on any given day – fact is, we’ll win some and we’ll lose some.”
So true. Must conduct ourselves consistently with our values and not compromise to gain short-term daily wins.
Every man has been empowered with a creative ability, to shape the life he/she desires
Great post Dan! Every visit to your blog invigorates me to become better to become great!