“The story of each stone leads back to a mountain.”
—W.S. Merwin, Late American Poet
Image from Unsplash by Daniel von Aarburg
Can you recall anyone telling you that you are “a chip off the old block”?
Perhaps you’ve used this phrase to refer to some bright, precocious youth showing great promise and demonstrating the positive qualities of their parents, teachers, or other well-regarded people.
Who have been the rugged, mountainous individuals in your life?
How have they shaped and carved your character, personality, attitudes, and talents?
What experiences and life lessons did they provide to help you become the person you are today?
Who are the people in your personal or professional worlds that see you as their mountain? How can and will you intentionally guide, teach, and coach them to be their very best?
“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.”
—Roy L. Smith, 20th Century American Clergyman
Image from Unsplash by Samuel Giacomelli
Heat treatment is the process of heating and cooling metals to change their micro-structure and to bring out the physical and mechanical characteristics that make them more desirable.
Before modern metalworking techniques were invented, blacksmiths used heat to make metal more workable in forming them into the shapes they desired and in making them stronger.
Where can and will you apply the fires of greater personal and professional discipline to expand your talents into more masterful abilities?
“A talent can be cultivated in tranquility; a character only in the rushing stream of life.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 18th Century German writer and statesman
Image from Unsplash by Sergio Souza
Reflecting on this Quotable Coach series over the past eight years, I realized that it was the values and character traits of each author that had me select their quotes.
These daily nuggets of practical wisdom are more often gleaned from the rushing streams of life than tranquil self-reflection.
Cultivating our talents in both tranquil and active times provides an added foundation for many of the character traits we most admire and wish to emulate in our own lives.
If developing your own character is a priority, you may wish to read the remarkable stories of less well-known individuals in David Brooks book, The Road to Character.
“Drop the hammer and pick up the shovel.”
—attributed to J.A. Dever
Image from Flickr by Daniel R. Blume
If you are a student of leadership and management theory, I’m sure you are fully aware that the old school “Command and Control” Taskmaster, or in this case, “Drop the Hammer” approach to success is history.
With the intense competition for talent, organizations and their leaders must create collaborative and cooperative cultures wherein each employee can develop and contribute in a meaningful way to remain engaged. Without the side-by-side pursuit of individual and organizational achievement, many top people will seek their futures elsewhere.
Where would more of a “Pick up the Shovel,” team leader approach to people and results be just the ticket for you and your organization to thrive today, and well into the future?
“At the heart of any good business is a chief executive officer with one.”
—Malcolm Forbes, late publisher of Forbes Magazine
Image from Adweek
The unemployment rate is at the lowest level in decades, and the search for talent is more competitive than any time most of us can remember.
With over 70 million Baby Boomers having exited or in the process of leaving the workforce, the prospect of attracting and retaining top talent to compete successfully in the global economy is not likely to get any easier.
Beyond all the benefits, perks, and bonuses, many leaders are finding it difficult to attract and retain the best and brightest.
What heart-based or heart-felt behaviors and cultural efforts can you initiate and sustain throughout your organization? What needs to happen – especially within the leadership ranks – to be one of the Good to Great and Built to Last organizations we so admire?
“Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
—Henry Van Dyke, 20th Century American educator
Image from Flickr by Rach
We live in a hyper-competitive world. Simply look around and see the countless examples in your personal and professional worlds.
For our children, it begins quite early with school and sports and other extra-curricular activities. As we enter our early adult years, the competition to get in the best schools and desirable companies can be fierce. Then we have to climb the corporate ladder.
Perhaps the primary goal of our journey through life is to reveal our unique abilities and talents. Perhaps it is our job or purpose to express and share them with the world as we become better versions of ourselves.
What are your special talents? How can and will you develop them to your fullest capacity, and offer them generously within your communities with your voice both loud and proud?
“Like an oyster cultivating a pearl, cultivate something that is special to you.”
Image from Prettywomanbeauty.gr
I recently watched a National Geographic special titled The Secret Life of Pearls, which explains the process by which South Sea pearls are produced. The show demonstrates the massive lengths of time and even life threatening dangers involved in creating these beautiful and highly prized marine gems.
Each of us has abilities, talents, and characteristics that make us who we are. These special qualities bring much pleasure and satisfaction when we express them and share them with others in our personal and professional communities.
The use, practice, and pursuit of excellence and even mastery in these areas can create a sense of flow and timeless engagement, which often produces even more fulfillment.
What special qualities, talents, and unique abilities can you emphasize and cultivate moving forward? Who in your communities can help you identify these qualities and support your growth in the areas that are special to you?
Check out The Secret Life of Pearls on the National Geographic Channel or on YouTube
“How can we become a cause and not just a company?”
—Tim Ogilvie, New York City-based Entrepreneur
Employee engagement is a hot topic. Every day, I meet with business leaders pulling their hair out over the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent.
In his 2009 book Drive, Daniel Pink explores factors that engage and motivate employees to be their best, to be attracted to the organizations that fulfill their need for meaning and purpose.
Some companies do a better job than others at making a profound impact on the stakeholder groups they genuinely seek to serve.
Where and in what ways can you ignite and expand your company or organizational purpose?
How can tapping into this desire for a passionate purpose set you apart from your competitors?
How might it generate a waiting list of eager talented applicants who want to be part of something extraordinary?
“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”
Image from abetterinterview.com
Years ago, I attended a local meeting of coaches, where the majority of people did not know one another. As an ice breaker, the group decided to engage in an exercise we called a “passion presentation.” The rules were simple: each person had two to three minutes to share any area of their lives that literally lit them up. The fellow coaches could then ask questions in order to learn more.
The result was a room on fire! No one could contain their passion to the few minutes allotted, and we eventually threw the time constraint out the window. The exercise continued for most of the meeting.
Whenever you see the need to break the ice in your personal or professional world, just ask people what they are passionate about, and watch their fires burn. Sharing your passions with others will likely excite those around you, as well.