Our life is to be like a river, not a reservoir

“Our life is to be like a river, not a reservoir.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a flowing river

Image from Unsplash by Nathan Anderson

Potential energy versus kinetic energy… what’s the difference? How do these concepts relate to dams and the generation of hydroelectric power?

What are other examples in our society in which we amass a resource because it represents a reservoir of potential power? If you need a clue, consider looking at the stock exchange, the commodities market, or even your kitchen pantry.

The key to success is the flow, trade, exchange, and movement of these resources that actually turns the gears of society to hopefully better the world for all of us.

EXERCISE:

Consider picking up a copy of Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money, to examine the importance of the flowing nature of this man-made tool to better our world.

Where else would living life like a river and not a reservoir lead to greater happiness and success?

You Have Been Assigned This Mountain

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a man on a boulder

Image from Unsplash by Tommy Lisbin

Over the years, I’ve posted many times about climbing to the top of one’s personal and professional mountains, to reach the pinnacle of success.

Moving a mountain is a considerable twist on the subject. It implies that an immovable object or enormous barrier must be shifted, not simply climbed.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what mountainous project or endeavor is it time to dig in, one shovelful at a time, to pass freely to the other side?

How can and will your efforts demonstrate for others what may be possible for them if they were to dig into their own mountainous barriers?

Here is another post about moving mountains.

Who Can You Give the Credit to

“Who can you give the credit to, before you take some for yourself?”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Founder of Box of Crayons

Image of Jim Collins

Harry S. Truman once said, “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.”

The classic book, Good to Great by Jim Collins supports this idea as a critical characteristic of what he calls Level 5 Leadership. Collins found, through extensive research, that the focus on the success of others rather than on one’s own contributions and accomplishments were key attributes for those who achieved breakthrough results.

EXERCISE:

Who in your professional or personal communities has earned and deserves far more credit than they are currently given? When will you recognize and reward their significant contribution – today, and on an ongoing basis?

 

Regret for Time Wasted

“Regret for time wasted can become a power for good in the time that remains.”

—Arthur Brisbane, 20th Century American Newspaper Editor

Image from Unsplash by Matthew Henry

How many more years do you expect to live, given your current health status and general life expectancy statistics?

How delighted, satisfied, disappointed or regretful are you regarding your current levels of professional and personal accomplishments?

I’ve found that virtually everyone I coach has a heightened sense of urgency, wanting to squeeze even more out of the time they have remaining.

For whatever the reason, they often seek out the support of a coaching relationship to achieve more, at a faster rate, than they have experienced up to the current moment.

EXERCISE:

The time we all have on this earth is limited. How will you maximize the use of what remains in order to achieve the success and significance you desire?

We would rather have one man or woman working for us than three merely working with us

“We would rather have one man or woman working with us than three merely working for us.”

—J. Danby Day, per Forbes Magazine

Image of cast of "Who's the Boss?"

Image from Zimbio

When it comes to the subjects of leadership and management, one of my biggest pet peeves is the word “Boss.”

I find myself squirming, often downright repulsed by the idea of one person managing an individual or team through the “top-down / command-and-control” manner conveyed by this word.

My 35+ years of experience working for public and private companies have shown me that people are far more fulfilled, empowered, satisfied and successful when they work with one another rather than for others.

Because of the feeling of contributing to a community, people experience a heightened sense of impact and purpose, knowing they are truly valued.

EXERCISE:

How can you become a more masterful leader, manager, and coach in your professional and personal communities so people gravitate and look forward to working with you?

Walking With the Trees

“Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees.”

—Karle Wilson Baker, 20th Century American Poet

Image of people walking through the forest

Image from Flickr by Dickson Phua

In the plant world, trees are among the most remarkable living creatures. In addition to being some of the largest and oldest living things, they have the ability to defy gravity. They reach toward the sky to absorb the sun’s energy, using it to make their own food through the process of photosynthesis.

I believe today’s quote points us to those tall, stand-out people within our personal or professional communities. These are the individuals we most admire and see as leaders who inspire us to stretch for our own greatest heights.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you grow and stand even taller by walking with and associating with others who are stretching skyward toward the canopy of life?

How Well You Bounce

“Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.”

—Tigger, The House at Pooh Corner

Image of Tigger and Ior

Image from disney.com

Running fast and climbing high are definitely part of any success journey. They represent the positive and affirming aspects of achievement and progress.

On the other hand, setbacks, stumbles, and outright failures beset us all. Quite often, we get the wind knocked out of us, leaving us reluctant to get up and bounce back into the game.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what issues do you need to be more “Tigger-like,” and bounce back to gain greater resiliency in your world?

Glimpses of Heaven

“There are glimpses of Heaven to us in every act or thought or word, that raises us above ourselves.”

—A.P. Stanley, 19th Century Dean of Westminster

Image of Thor's Helmet Emission Nebula

Thor’s Helmet Emission Nebula 
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona

I love the idea that if we shoot for the moon and miss our mark, we will still land among the stars. How often do your eyes rise to the heavens to explore and pursue the possibilities of life? How often do you navigate your world looking down or only at your next step?

With the right lens or perceptional filter, today’s quote suggests we can use every action, thought, or word as a catalyst, to become a better versions of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

Ask and answer these three questions, to open up the heavens even further:
• What did I learn from the action that I just took, to improve my current situation?
• How can my current thinking be more hopeful, optimistic, and creative?
• What do I hear or read that can inspire me toward a new level of excellence?

Consider creating a question or two for yourself that, once answered, can raise your life to new levels of success and life satisfaction.

The Spur of Competition

“Without the spur of competition we’d loaf out our life.”

—Arnold Glasow, 20th Century American Businessman

Image of a bicycle race

Image from Flickr by Rob Annis

Growing up, few kids wanted to be called a “Loaf.” Although the word has many meanings, in today’s quote it refers to being a procrastinator, or lazy.

Sports, getting good grades, and even entering the working world were the spurs that had me leap into my days with energy and enthusiasm, striving for success.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional world would a greater spirit of competition spur you on to higher levels of success?

Initiative is to Success

“Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle.”

—Orlando A. Battista, 20th-Century Canadian-American chemist & author

Image of a lit match

Image from Flickr by Rob Howard

Today’s quote suggests that initiative can be a spark of life, leading us to a brighter future.

What, for you, is the value and importance of getting the ball rolling on your key professional and personal priorities, rather than taking a laid-back, “wait and see” approach?

Many hesitate, thinking, “What if it doesn’t work?” or “What if I embarrass myself and look foolish in taking such a risk?”

If you have these thoughts, consider instead what it would be like if it worked out just as you hoped. What is the likelihood you would wish you had taken the initiative sooner?

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently hesitating or procrastinating on an important matter in your life? What act of initiative that supports a brighter future will you take within the next 24 hours?