July 23, 2012

Drive ~ Daniel Pink

A very clever way to understand motivation~ "Drive" by Daniel Pink.  Check out his book as well.

July 20, 2012

The Colorado Shooting and how to move forward

I was going to write about leadership lessons learned while watching the 
newly released “Dark Knight Rises” but  the events of last night have encouraged me to share a more important message.

I do want to offer my condolences to those affected in any way by the shooting last night.  It is terribly tragic.  I offer my testimony that I personally know that death is not the end.  And I offer a perspective of life that can give comfort to both those directly and indirectly affected.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Learn about that plan here.

While the events were tragic and do ware heavy on our hearts, It is the spirit of the American people to not allow such actions and happenings to ruin our spirits.  It is my prayer that we will continue to live a life made possible by the freedom we enjoy.  Maybe we can make but one difference after what we’ve seen today, and that is that we try a little harder to be kind to one another.  Try a little harder to reach out to those that may appear to be struggling.  In the process, we will make friends and combat the causes of these tragic events. 

  I am glad to see that the politics of this years election was put on the back burner for a bit but saddened that it took an event like this to end the political games, and saddened by the idea that they will just carry on where they left off in a matter of days.  But I guess I should enjoy it while It lasts.  Today, both the President and the potential president ended their vicious attacks against each other and both shared powerfully uplifting messages to raise the spirits of the American people.  Does it really have to get this bad to see this kind of leadership?  Leadership is something that should prevail in the good times as much as the bad.

But regardless of what our “leaders” do, we have a responsibility to renew our commitment and our responsibility to lead and uplift those around us.   So as we remember those who lost their lives and those who came close, lets also remember that we have the power to make this world a better place. 

Passion and Compassion by Chantelle Steadman

Why We Lead holds strong to its belief that every person alive has the potential, and the responsibility to lead themselves and then influence those around them.  So many are looking up the hierarchy to government for leadership and we are learning that politics and leadership are becoming far disconnected.  We need to be looking within ourselves and to each other. So....Everyone, meet Chantelle.  Chantelle, meet everyone.  Chantelle is Why We Lead's first Guest blogger.  We will now be seeking out everyday leaders and asking them to share their stories or passions.  Great Idea?  Yeah, we know.  I now Introduce Chantelle.

My name is Chantelle Steadman
and I attend Utah Valley
University where I am studying
business management and human relations.
I currently reside in Orem, Utah with
my husband. I love people, talking, and smiling.
I have a passion for leadership
and I love to work with people. I
believe that leading by example
is essential if one is to be an
effective and inspirational leader.

Passion and Compassion
By: Chantelle Steadman
I have always felt that compassion is essential in order to become a true leader. It is such a leaders aim to inspire the people around them and to help them realize their full potential for the difference that their existence can make within the world. Without compassion, leadership turns authoritative and dull. Compassion requires leaders to recognize the differences and strengths within every person within their influence. It enables people to feel trust and confidence and it encourages them to work their hardest and give to the people around them.

From the heart of compassion, comes our passion as leaders. To be passionate is to have enthusiasm that comes from within. True leadership means finding your passion, coupling it with compassion, and dedicating your life to pursuing it. Passionate leaders are conscious of those around them. They will invest their time and energy into solving problems and building trust and support for their followers. Their passion or drive to alleviate others’ distress is derived from their desire to exhibit compassion.

When a person’s passion is truly genuine, they will have true concern for the people around them and will create an environment in which their followers will become increasingly concerned for each other thus creating a unity that cannot be broken. 


Chantelle chose this topic because she is a strong believer in compassionate leadership. She was inspired by a speaker that shared his story about an accident that took his wife and kid, inspiring him to rethink his life and live for compassion.  She says, "He talked a lot about the connection between compassion and passion itself and I thought it was very interesting. I strongly believe that a passionate leader understands how to treat their followers with compassion. By leading in a compassionate manner, anyone who is involved in a certain project can feel this and will want to behave in accordance. Strong relationships form and there tends to be much less tension than if there was a leader who didn't truly understand compassion."  

July 19, 2012

Success or Significance

First, a couple of questions to ask:

Is it better to reach a goal of leading a large organization?  Or is it better to influence just one person to change for the better?

Is it better to manipulate people to your cause for short term increase in numbers?  Or to uplift, empower, and help people find cause in themselves? 

Is it better to master the political game to win people’s hearts and gain public office?  Or is it better to be chosen by the people to lead because of the power you’ve given them?   

If you’ve been following my tweets, you probably know what this article is about.  It’s something I have strongly valued for a long time and the nearing political election has played a large role in getting it on my mind again.  It is the idea that significance is greater than success—that the culture of fighting for success as an end is destroying our potential for good.
So what’s the difference?  Dewitt Jones said that “the difference between success and significance is not being the best in the world, but rather the best for the world.”  We have created a culture where we will do just about anything for this idea of success.  It starts out as a noble pursuit.  It is good for people to want to achieve something.  But as soon as they do, they realize that it is not enough.   It is not as filling as they thought it would be.  The have to move on to the next thing, sacrificing more and more for selfish pursuits.   A lot of the trouble comes from the fact that people have learned that they can be successful even when they are doing things the easy way.  They can cheat and win and get away with it.  They can copy someone else that has seen success, completely omitting creativity.  A spiritual role-model of mine, Elder Jeffery R. Holland warned that “Surely fluttering somewhere over the highway to hell is the Chamber of Horrors banner reading ‘Welcome to the ethics of ease’.” 

Significance, on the other hand, is being successful in the cause of unselfishly serving the world.  Many of us have tried to offer this service and we can testify that it is no easy task.  Why is it so hard?  When you are focused on the quality of significance rather than the quantity of success, you are giving up yourself for a cause that is greater than your own.  And this cause requires everything of you.  Think about Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Viktor Frankl—they had to give up everything they had for their influence and significance, even their lives. 

So yes, to answer the questions above; quality influence on the few is greater than falsely leading the many, building loyalty and empowering is better than manipulating, Leading people and building leadership is better than politics.  Set your eyes on significance and let the real success follow.  Here’s a couple ideas to get you started:

Be Creative: You can mimic what others have done to be successful, but being significant requires that you do things your way.  Take the time to learn who you are before you decide what you do.  “[Vocation is] the place where your deep gladness meets the worlds deep need.” Frederick Buechners

Stop trying to find the easy way: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!  No substantial service has ever been performed by doing things the easy way.  Hard work will define you as someone that is willing to sacrifice for the betterment of those around you.

Fear no failure:  Fear of failure is the enemy of progression.  It will discourage you from trying new things.  Find some creative way to serve the world.  You will fail, but remember, failure is nothing more than a lesson learned.  Get back up and keep moving forward.

What else?

July 17, 2012

Lead People Inward

© Drewrawcliffe | Stock Free Images &Dreamstime Stock Photos

I messed up this morning.

Many of us are provided the opportunity to give help to those around us.  This is the essence of leadership, right?   We see a need and we allow our qualities to diminish it.  We influence.  We caution.  We project what we have learned on others hoping to resolve the issues.  I guess the question is, are we really helping?

Every person, when conflicted, has only two ways to look for help and direction—inside and out.  One of these is over-used and one is not used nearly enough.  While both may be sources of quality influence, we have to consider which is sometimes good but potentially hurtful, and which is always good and potentially freeing.
When someone that is hurt in some way looks to those around him for help, he is looking to outward experiences that have been built on others personalities.   It would be like taking two 5,000 piece puzzles, combining them, and trying to make one giant puzzle.  It just would not work.  Sometimes the experiences and personalities of the two parties match enough to seem productive, but what we don’t see is the potential for true growth that we are removing ourselves and the one in need from.

On the other hand, when someone hurt looks inside themselves, they are connecting to the most powerful source of infinite guidance ever.  Parker J. Palmer says, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”  If we look inside ourselves, we learn who we really are.  We build a customized value system, and we learn how to lead ourselves through any problem.  How can we claim to be leaders if we are leading others away from this opportunity?

So like I said, I messed up.  I had good intentions when I tried to help someone close to me but I was still leading them away from their selfhood and thus from their ultimate source of creative, fulfilling power.
“We must come together in ways that respect the solitude of the soul, that avoid the unconscious violence we do when we try to save each other that evoke our capacity to hold another life without dishonoring its mystery, never trying to coerce the other into meeting our own needs.”  -Parker J. Palmer

So yes, leaders do have the responsibility to find needs and give assistance.  But may we do so carefully.  May we do so in such way that will inspire those around us to connect to themselves and learn about themselves.  So lead people inward, this is the most unselfish, service-oriented way.

July 16, 2012

Stephen Covey Memorial Post

Last year, on my birthday, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Dr. Covey as he shared his ideas on positive consequences in the police force and the third alternative.  I was invited afterwards to share a lunch with him.  His calm humble presence spoke much louder than the words I heard from him earlier that day.  His countenance had an effect I have seen in few men. I would follow that man anywhere.  Such is true leadership.

Dewitt Jones said, "The difference between success and significance is not being the best in the world but rather the best for the world."  Dr. Covey dedicated his life to the betterment of mankind.  He is the personification of what it means to be the best 'for' the world.  The legacy he has left behind will forever be evidence of what great people can do when they are guided by their imagination and their will to help people.  

So as we mourn the loss of such a great figure, lets all strive a little harder to be better people ourselves. 

Rest in peace, Dr. Covey.

July 13, 2012

A Call for Dreamers and Creators

In this blog, I've mentioned the importance of one coming to an understanding of their reality as a prerequisite to the visualizing, planning, and living of a self-created life.  Sometimes this humbling understanding of what is really happening comes by no effort of the individual at all.  A larger scale example of this can be easily witnessed by watching our own national and world news.  The world is in turmoil.  Europe is desperately fending off bankruptcy and America is not far off.  War ravages the Middle East and the rumors and fear of war can be found everywhere.  Our reality catches up with us sooner or later and if it is not on our terms, It scares the hell out of us.  I guess this is why realistic thinking gets such a bad rep.  

There are few that have let this realization get to their heads without proper thought.  Few, but still enough to warrant mention.  To them I agreeIt would be easy to look at the world and lose hope.  It would be easy to feel justified in giving up.  But I tell you that we cannot afford to give up what our parents, and grandparents, and great grandparents have lived and died for.  Now is not the time to take the easy path.  Good is to be found yet still; and it is to be discovered on the path that none have traveled thus far. 

Worse are those that are willingly apathetic.  There is no excuse for understanding a problem and doing nothing about it.  This is the only true failureknowledge and ability to help humanity and doing nothing with it.  And I pity those that have not yet realized what is so obvious before them.  I guess we are to blame for not properly informing them.

To these three types of people, and indeed to all, my message is the same.  Now is the time to dream—to let our minds open to the vast amount of possibilities available on our horizons.  We only access a tiny portion of our minds capacity and this is because we don't allow it to visualize novel possibilities.  We are conditioned to believe from an early age that the only way to grow in knowledge is to take in what has already been discovered.  We are limiting ourselves.  We are spending all of our time looking at shadows in caves and thinking we are smart, all the while missing out on the true beauty and utility of the actual forms yet to be discovered outside.  

This is a cultural disaster waiting to happen, even already in process.  We need to change.  And it starts with the individual.  It starts with you.  Stop looking to every person that has gone before you as an example for how you should live.  Stop trying to be what everyone else is trying to be.  Stop looking outward to find answers to inward questions.  Dream about what you want to be... and then work for it.  Like I said before.  This is no time for easy pursuits.  It is time for hard, creative, powerful work.  And there is not a lot of time left.   

I'm sure people wonder why I have started a blog.  It is not necessarily a standard pursuit for a poor, unadorned, college student.  Most of those that have blogs are already professionals with mass followings.  I don't know a lot of people, and I don't have a lot of influence.  But I do have a passion.  A passion for bettering myself and those around me.  I have a passion for building the significance that lies in the potential of every living being.  I believe the best is yet to come if we will it to be so.  I believe in creativity and change.  If you share these desires and beliefs, join me in the cause of freeing the world from the culture that is currently plaguing it.    

July 11, 2012

Do the World Some Good: Live Your Own Life

Albert Einstein defines "Insanity" as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  If you want the world to be a different, better place, you yourself have to be a different, better person.  We are insane to think that mimicking the habits and choices of those who have gone before us will change the world.  Listen to your inner voice and act!  You'll be glad you did.

"Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.  As we do so, we will also find the joy that every human being seeks--we will also find our paths of authentic service in the world."   -Parker J. Palmer

July 9, 2012

Step 2: Creative Vision

Visualize the End Result

Remember when we learned the importance of understanding your reality? (if not, you can catch up here)  Remember how this requires us to stop being overly positive about our present situation?  I am sure many people gawked at this.  I don’t blame them.  There is not a lot of fun to be had in realistic thinking.  However, it is necessary and it has its place.  And if you do it right, it is quick—leaving more time for the fun stuff.  

Now for the fun stuff.

Growing up, I was taught that if you can see it, you can be it.  This has really come to life for me now.  The art of visualizing is key to living a life that is tailored to you and your desires.  We have to be able to picture ourselves in the place that we want to be.  In this picture we find ambitions and desires that are specific to us—goals that will require our own creative paths.  This is where your positive attitude comes into play.  It’s time to start dreaming! 

In my leadership training, I feel like the term vision has been complicated for whatever reason.  I propose a very simple definition.  It is what we see with our minds eye.  The human brain is so powerful.   Scientists say that we only use a sliver of its capacity and I am convinced that visualizing is the key to accessing more of that power.  (This is why it is so dangerous to think that everything has already been invented or learned.  There is knowledge yet to be acquired that cannot be found in books.)  Think about it.  We do it already.  We can dream and imagine the most interesting things that seem to be so far-fetched.  The idea is to control this and make it work for us.  Here are some pointers:

1: Draw a picture!  Just like goal setting, if you don’t write it down, it will be gone as soon as it came.  When you picture where you want to be, get it on paper!   Our thoughts can be elusive.  We may think we have mastered our minds to remember every detail of our thoughts but I promise you have not!  Draw yourself a picture, or write it down.  Some people use a vision board or create a vision statement. You will be motivated by the sight of yourself in a place you want to be.  If you choose to write, be sure to use words that can recall the picture of yourself in your mind.  Start your sentences with “In 40 years, I see myself…”  If you can see it, you can be it! Ask yourself these questions to get started:
  • What does my family look like?
  • Where am I in my professional life?
  • What am I wearing?
  • Have I surrounded myself with what is most important to me?
  • What do I value most?
  • What have you accomplished?
  • How old are you? (it is important to associate your vision with a time!)

2: Place your vision somewhere that it can be seen or read often!  If you formulate this vision of yourself and then never look at it again, it will be forgotten.  I promise you!  This should be read or seen daily!  When you are making difficult decisions, you should be able to look at your vision and ask “What will best help me fulfill my vision?”

3: Share you vision.  You are surrounded by people that would love nothing more than to see you succeed.  Share with them your vision to build a strong support network.  If you cannot find this support among your friends, it may be time to find new ones.
Photo by © Teoteoteo | Stock Free Images &Dreamstime Stock Photos

4: Don’t be afraid to adjust.  This is difficult because we live in a culture where it is not okay to fail.  Failure is punished and it really makes me sick.  We wonder why people do not want to try new things.  Ha!  You have to know that failure is not only okay, but 100% necessary for growth!  We may come to find that something we envisioned just may not happen like we planned.  Keep dreaming and fill the void with another goal. (Side Note:  If you are changing your vision out of fear of failure, KNOCK IT OFF!  This is no way to live and you will fall far short of your potential! Try and fail and try again, but don’t lose yourself the chance of growth by removing yourself from the experience.)

5: What else???

Remember!  Creating your life is a process!  Let’s review the steps we’ve discussed. 
  1. Understand your reality: You can’t know where to go until you know where you are. This is where you will start
  2. Visualize: If you can see it you can be it.  This is your destination.
  3. In posts to come: Making your vision a reality.   Be sure to subscribe and check back!