“Set your course by the stars, not by the light of every passing ship.”
—Omar N. Bradley, 20th Century American Military General
Image from harborfreight.com
Historically, sailors used a device called a sextant to determine their position in the ocean, and to chart their course.
Given the fixed positions of various stars, including Polaris (The North Star), and other commonly seen constellations, they were surprisingly successful in finding their way.
With today’s GPS technology, only a few sailors continue to use the sextant — although many a masterful sailor uses it as a backup in case technology fails.
With the volume of cruise ships, container vessels, and other boats on our oceans, it would be foolhardy to try to navigate strictly by watching every passing ship.
Consider your core values and guiding principles as fixed stars that guide your life. Which do you cherish the most? How do they help you navigate life’s rough seas?
“Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want.”
—Ryan Gosling, Canadian Actor and Musician
mage from Flickr by Sean Freese
Looking back to my childhood, Halloween was perhaps my favorite holiday. The process of selecting our costumes to be hand-made by mom, and the pillow cases we used to collect our booty, still brings a fond smile.
In those years, we went out early and stayed out pretty late, and it was common to head home to drop off a load of the sweet stuff and head back out for more. That night, and for a few short weeks after, we had the freedom to eat our fill and not hear “No!” too often.
This freedom to choose our actions was something I cherished and it has been a core value of mine ever since.
How and in what ways can you experience even more of the sweetness of life by embracing and exercising the personal freedoms we sometimes take for granted?
“Keep out of the suction caused by those who drift backwards.”
—attributed to E. K. Piper
Image from Pinterest
When I was in my early teens, I hung out with friends at the local bowling alley. Beyond pursuing our mastery of bowling, we also rode bikes, played wall ball, stick ball, hand ball, wire ball, and a game called “Chink,” which also included a ball.
Back then, if you had a ball, you were guaranteed entertainment all day.
When some of the older friends started driving and hormones kicked in, things began to shift. Their behaviors and language became unacceptable to the values I was taught by my parents and teachers. I could actually feel the negative backward drifts whenever I was encouraged to behave in similar ways.
Where do you currently feel the suction of selected individuals in either your personal or professional communities?
What steps must you take to eliminate this backward draft so you can continue pursuing your best future self?
“It’s always worthwhile to make others aware of their worth.”
—Malcom Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, promoter of capitalism
Malcom Forbes was perhaps one of the best known capitalists of the 20th century, famous for his namesake magazine and his extravagant lifestyle.
For his 70th birthday, he spent over 2.5 million dollars to charter a Boeing 747, a DC-8, and a Concord, to fly eight hundred of the world’s rich and famous from New York to London for an extraordinary celebration.
Think about how you currently acknowledge and reward those around you in your professional and personal life. How can you enhance these efforts to more fully recognize the worth of these special individuals?
“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.”
-Lily Tomlin, American actress, comedian, writer, and producer
Photo from Flickr by Tim
One of the unique parts of my work as a coach is that I have significant freedom to work with the people I choose. This freedom of choice has multiple benefits, including better results and far more mutually satisfying relationships.
Before any coaching begins, I utilize a discovery process to weed out the potential rats that are not the best fit to work with me.
I clearly do not wish to offend anyone by calling them a rat, however, we all find some people far easier and more enjoyable to work with due to common values, beliefs, and commitments. The ability to seek out such individuals allows us to not only win more races, but also to enjoy the run regardless of the results.
How can you use your values, beliefs, and authentic commitments to partner with others to more fully enjoy more of your professional and personal races?
“Values are critical guides for making decisions. When in doubt, they cut through the fog like a beacon in the night.”
– Robert Townsend (attrib.)
Image from Flickr by briant87.
I am reading A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Building a Great Business, by Ari Weinzweig. He is the co-owner of Zingerman’s, located near the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor.
This book contains a wide variety of essays that show how Zingerman’s became what Bo Burlingham from Inc magazine refers to as “the coolest small company in America.”
Townsend’s quote speaks to the very heart of what makes Zingerman’s, with now over 500 employees, a great place to eat and work.
Google Zingerman’s to do a bit of research into how their values guide their decisions and why they are famous for “the Zingerman experience.” You can even use their mail-order business at www.zingerman.com to get a literal taste for yourself.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
– William A. Foster (attrib.)
Six Sigma, TQM and Lean Manufacturing are processes that many organizations use to build quality into their products and services. These programs, when successfully implemented, meet all the attributes of high intentionality, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilful execution.
But what about the rest of us, who may not work in the world of manufacturing?
How can you apply these characteristics to build strong relationships, a rewarding career, and an outstanding life?
What wise choices will you make today and into the future to do just that?
“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
Who are you and how do you behave when no one is watching? Are your values expressed in your deeds at all times, or only when you are on display for others to see?
Golf is a sport of great character, where the participants actually call penalties on themselves, even when their playing partners rarely, if ever, see these penalties.
What are your daily standards for living a life of honor and integrity? To what values do you hold true, so that you always live in this manner, regardless of whether an audience is there to observe?
What changes will you make to focus on your character, rather than your reputation?
“…Our inner balance, and even our very existence, depends on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives.”
– Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
Watching the Olympic Games over the past couple of weeks has been a highlight of my summer. Beyond the gold medals and extraordinary human achievement, we all got to see some special human moments of great beauty and dignity.
Did you see them too?
- Athletes showing tears of joy in respect and honor of their country’s national anthem
- Athletes thanking a higher power for their gifts and achievements
- Athletes honoring their team-mates and competitors
- The world coming together in peace to celebrate the human spirit
How can you bring your highest moral values and actions to each day and to those people around you, to experience greater beauty, balance and dignity in your life?
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