“Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”
—Mattie J.T. Stepanek, late American child poet & agent of peace
Image of Mattie Stepanek from oprah.com
What is the best time to plant a tree? If you’ve heard this question before, you know the answer is something on the order of, “25 years ago.”
The typical follow-up question to this riddle is, “What is the next best time to plant a tree?” The answer is, of course, “Today!”
Those of us who desire a more fruitful future continually look for and take the next step that will begin or continue the journey. In this way, we can realize the future that may initially seem far away.
What specific seeds will you plant within your community efforts today? Better yet, what will you do right now to make this possible future a reality?
“Intent reveals desire. Action reveals commitment.”
—Steve Marboli, American Behavioral Scientist
Intention plus action: they are a formidable pair. Together, they have been associated with extraordinary achievements that have moved the world. Take a look around at past, current, and some of the upcoming quantum leaps we are capable of, and try not to be amazed.
On the other hand, when these two qualities stand alone or are completely missing, progress seems to limp along, stop, or even regress.
Where would summoning your most desired intentions and most committed actions help you realize even more of what you wish to achieve in your personal and professional life?
“In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”
—Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist
Image from classicalwisdom.com
Take out a piece of paper and list your very best qualities. Ask yourself what others in your personal and professional worlds would add to this list given your modest and humble nature.
Create a second list of qualities you most admire in those around you that may not have made it onto your first list.
Rate yourself on the level of action you demonstrate regarding those qualities, on a 1-10 scale.
What would be the value and benefit to you and those around you if you upgraded or shared even more of your best qualities with your various communities?
What action will you take today to realize the difference you intend to make?
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
—Maya Angelou, late American poet, author, and civil rights activist
The process of coaching kicks many areas of life into a higher gear, given its experiential and interactive nature. Regardless of whether we are a senior citizen or infants, we all interact with the world, receive feedback, and then determine how to proceed in the future.
Through its emphasis on self-awareness, constructive feedback, and experiential learning, coaching expedites this process. It allows individuals and organizations to know more and do better at a more robust rate.
How and where can you do your best in a more intentional learning environment? How would the assistance of a teacher, mentor, or coach help you do and be better every day?
“Rise above the little things.”
—John Burroughs, 19th Century American essayist
Have you heard of the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?
There is a companion workbook to help you put many of the techniques and strategies from the book into practice.
I suggest a three-step process to help you rise above the little things that often bring us all down:
Step One: Conduct a 5-10 minute inventory of the “little things” that hold you back, personally or professionally. A list of 3-5 in each category is a good start.
Step Two: Clarify the specific benefits or desired future possible if these pesky or intolerable issues were handled.
Step Three: Summon the courage, fortitude, and grit to become a bigger, more capable version of yourself. Take the necessary action and/or shift your perspective to have many of these “little things” fade away.
Feel free to reply to this post and let me know how things go.
“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”
—Doug Firebaugh, home-based business consultant
If you are reading this post in the morning, I hope it inspires you to take a particular action or two to improve yourself and your world.
Select a single area of focus in which the effort and hopeful outcome will bring a big smile to your face when you rest your head on your pillow tonight.
Inching closer to your personal and professional goals reminds me of what some people call the “One Percent Rule.” This rule encourages us to strive for a one percent improvement on some worthy task or objective.
In what area can and will you provide that extra one percent to inch you closer to a better tomorrow?
“It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.”
—Al Batt (humorist)
image from Unsplash by William Iven
How active are you on social media? How many hours do you spend observing and interacting with the folks in your personal and professional communities?
What percent of your time is spent on content consumption, where you sit up and log into other people’s efforts?
What percent of the time are you getting up and taking action to create content and move the needles in your worlds?
Where would shifting the percentages from consumption to production cause others to sit up and notice, perhaps even taking greater action in their own lives?
“We are inclined to think that if we watch a football game or a baseball game, we have taken part in it.”
—John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
Image from Flickr by Danny Molyneux
Are you a sports fan? How many hours a week do you watch sporting events on TV? How often do you go to games or events in person?
Without question, the energy and excitement around sporting events – football, baseball, the upcoming Olympics, even golf – can be off the charts. Many people experience the by-product bursts of adrenaline through our proximity to these spectacles.
What if you lived in Roman times and were among the spectators in the Colosseum, where the game involved life or death? Clearly you would not wish to be one of the people facing the lions!
Where in your personal or professional life are you sitting on the sidelines as a spectator, thinking that somehow, you are actually in the game?
Where is it time to suit up and get on the field to actually experience life’s contests yourself?
“Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.”
—David Thomas, President of Morehouse College
Image from Flickr by Imanka
About 20 years ago I attended a year-long program called The Wisdom Course. One of our primary assignments was to write our autobiography. We were to include photographs from every age, if available, and document important people and life events from each year. This was done through our own recollection, as well as interviews with many of the people we identified.
I found it fascinating to see the impact I made on the people in my life, and the impact they had on my growth and development. Of particular interest was where and how I began developing my core values, personality, and character.
The most notable observation was that the unselfish and noble actions – my own and those of others – were the most memorable and enduring.
Consider doing your own biographical life review. Make particular note of the noble and unselfish actions taken by yourself and others along the way. How have these events shaped you to be the person you are today?