Learning Leadership from Leaders

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what leadership really is-mostly because of some great quotes I’ve read lately.  What do these quotes say to you?

“Good leaders make sure that everyone knows what is expected, every single day.”  Brian Tracy

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” Henry Kissinger

“People are more easily led than driven.” David Harold Fink

“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” Marian Anderson

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” John F. Kennedy

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

“Character isn’t something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. It’s something you weren’t born with and must take responsibility for forming.” Jim Rohn

“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” Harold S. Geneen

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” Ralph Nader

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Oprah Winfrey

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell

Whether you think all of these men and women are leaders, there are lessons to be learned from what they say.  Leadership isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something that each of us choose to learn.  Who are you leading and what can you do to become a better leader?  Share your thoughts on leadership below.

Family Mental Health

What great, and empowering, things have you done this month?  May is almost over, we’ve just got a few brief days left to celebrate Memorial Day (link), and to make sure we’ve supported our mental health.  We would be leaving a major point out if we closed out May without talking about mental health, families and relationships.  Are you supported by your family?  Do you have a healthy relationship or are you constantly giving and not receiving?  Let’s talk about 3 points for each of us to follow to get started having healthier relationships at home.

Schedule: I’m a big fan of communicating schedules, plans and opportunities.  First though, you have to have a plan and schedule for yourself!  Do you actually take the time to write down your schedule, when you’ll be working/have commitments, when you’ll be with the kids, and when you’ll be with your partner?  Don’t let those things slide or be put to the side, actually plan those times into your schedule so you know that you’re not letting a relationship take second place all the time.  By sharing your schedule with the other members of the family, you all have the opportunity to communicate about your personal needs and to make sure that everyone has input in what happens day to day with the family.

Support: Believe it or not family is supposed to be where you feel the most supported, loved and cared for.  If this isn’t the case, you and the other members of the family have a lot of work to do!  It’s essential to create a supportive, nurturing, loving, caring environment for your kids to grow up in and a safe, open, intimate, growing relationship with your partner.  If you all aren’t working together to support each other, it will be next to impossible to create a mentally healthy environment that supports your happiness, satisfaction and ability to do great things in the world.

Specific: Yes, you must be specific.  Tell your partner what you want, tell your kids how much you love them, ask your kids to do specific tasks or not to do specific things, and be specific when you need those 10 minutes of you time so you don’t have a breakdown.  Encourage your kids to be specific with you and tell you what they need from you, what makes them feel healthy and learn what you can do specifically to be a better mom or dad.  The same goes for your partner, ask them what you can do to specifically grow your relationship, and support them, and make sure to listen and take action based on what they say.

This weekend set aside time to begin the conversation about how you can all help each other feel stronger and be healthier mentally. If you’ve already discussed being supportive, what is one thing you know you should be doing for your family but aren’t? Try doing that this weekend and see what a difference it makes.

What Kind of Teacher Are You?

There’s a lot of wisdom in the world.  Search “#quote” on Twitter or “inspirational quote” on the internet and you’ll come up with probably a million results.  Everyone has a bit of amazing wisdom that they can, and should, share with the world.  I love thinking about ways that I can help others to be better versions of themselves.  Recently I read a quote that got me thinking about what makes people effective teachers, and what I can do to be a better teacher, friend, individual, coach and bringer of hope.  The quote was:

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~William A. Ward

This inspiring bit of wisdom by Ward ultimately encourages us to be teachers at whatever level we can, and inspires us to always strive to be a better teacher. Let’s take a look at Ward’s 4 levels of teaching and how we can implement them in our lives to better help others.

If you’re at the telling stage you can write a book or blog that tells people how to deal with a problem or situation, or about your journey, share quotes on Twitter or Facebook or give people advice.  These aren’t bad things at all!  Rather, they’re an important step in your process of growing to be a better teacher.

When you begin explaining things, you help people understand the “why” behind what you’ve told them.  Offering an explanation to people can help them believe it more, be more willing to share it or give them the motivation to implement what you’re telling them in their lives.

Demonstrating is a powerful tool.  You can see people demonstrating that they know what they’re talking about throughout the personal growth and entrepreneurial industries, they’re having a lot of success and making great strides despite what people say about the world economy. They’re showing you what they’ve done to get where they are and have the breakthroughs they’ve had.  It’s one of the reasons that video is so popular right now because you can show people how to bake that cake or how to speed read.

When you get to the inspirational level of teaching, you don’t have to tell, explain or demonstrate.  Your life inspires others to live their own lives in a way that they’re making the impact that you do.  Great examples are Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela or even Oprah.  You’ve been telling, explaining, and demonstrating for long enough and well enough that you’ve become an inspiration to others.

Whether you inspire men, women, children, or any population from business owners to those with disabilities, you have a gift to give others.  By telling, explaining, demonstrating and finally living as an inspiration, you’ll be helping people find the strength within themselves to go out and be a teacher to people only they could reach.

What will you do today to uplevel your teaching?  Share your thoughts below.

Organizing for Mental Health

How are you feeling today?  Stressed?  May is Mental Health Month, and as a home organizer I love helping people relieve some of the pressure that they feel because they’re stressed or depressed by their environment. Let’s talk about some things that you can do to relieve some of the stress in your life by getting organized.

Keep it simple: It’s easy to keep gathering things, letting cleaning or organizing slide and doing things in the way that you’ve always done them.  But the truth is that the more simple things are for you, the easier it will be to keep up.  I don’t mean that you have to give up stuff or stop doing stuff and live in a little cabin in the woods, what I mean is that if you’re still spending all day on Twitter for business, look for recipes each day for dinner, and have things stored in impractical and wasteful places, you definitely need to make things simpler and easier for yourself.  If you haven’t taken the time to simplify your life, I encourage you to set aside some time this week and make a list of things you want to be simpler in your life, and then start on them one by one.

Make a schedule:  Everyone talks about wanting to be free and having the time to do all these amazing things that they never have time for.  Do you know why they don’t have time?  Because they haven’t scheduled their time well.  They haven’t planned the necessary chores, activities, relationship building time, work/career and rest into their life.  By taking the time to plan your day, your week and your month, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of headaches, but you’ll also be able to schedule in time for your partner, kids, clients, and yourself.  I haven’t found a perfect scheduler, calendar or program that does all I want it to, so I write my schedule in 2 different ways-a daily/weekly schedule, and a monthly one.  And yes, I do write it by hand.

Get support: The only way that you’ll be able to get organized and be mentally strong is if you have help.  You can’t do it alone, you’ve got to communicate your schedule with your partner, coworkers, boss, friends and kids.  You also may want to hire someone to clean your house, go grocery shopping or do some of the simpler tasks in your business that don’t need your personal attention.  Also, don’t be afraid to get some help from an organizer, counselor or coach to get you started on mental and physical organization and health.

What will you do this week to have a simpler, planned, supported life?  If it’s just one action, what will that action be?

Get Outside and Play!

How much time do you spend outside with the family? Next week, May 23-30, is National Backyard Games week.  Here are some of my favorite backyard games to get you inspired and outside having fun with the family.

Water balloons-fill up some balloons with water and have some cool fun!

Frisbee-whether it’s two of you or you have enough to play Ultimate Frisbee

Ghost in the Graveyard-play with a group of friends in the dark

Kick the Can-try this version of tag

Tag– try all the different versions of tag including regular tag, freeze tag, duck duck goose, ball tag, and many more

Steal the baconthis fun game is great for a bunch of players

Capture the flagthis was one of my favorite games growing up

Hide & seek-this is especially good for little ones

Scavenger hunt-this is a less physical game, but still lots of fun!

Mini Olympics-having a variety of games and activities is good those with short attention spans.

Obstacle course-this is tons of fun and you can get really creative with the obstacles!

Relay races-here are a couple fun ideas for relay races

And we can’t forget old favorites like soccer, baseball, football, basketball and catch.

What backyard game will you do with your family this weekend?  Share your stories below too!

What’s Your Difference?

What do you spend your free time thinking about?  Lately I’ve been thinking about how I contribute to the world, what the impact of my life is on the future.

Have a plan to daily contribute at least once.  You can do this by putting $1 in the hand of a homeless person. You can hold the door for someone. You can share a good idea for free with someone online.  You can pick up a piece of trash so it goes in the garbage not an animal or hurts the earth.

Have a plan to monthly contribute in a bigger way.  Donate time or money to an organization that helps others.  Have a monthly newsletter with free inspiration and tips you send out to encourage others.  Offer to help your elderly neighbor with something.  Spend time with those you love and are important to you.

Have a yearly plan to contribute.  Sponsor a child, organization or support them with your time.

Have a life plan to contribute.  What are you doing as a person?  What will you be remembered for after you die?  Will you even be remembered?  Will what you’ve done in life matter?  I encourage you to make sure that you do have a positive impact on the world, whether it’s by sharing the message of someone else, contributing to the future of someone or making the world a better place through your own inspiration or innovation.

These thoughts are part of one of my Path Plan Track courses, “10 Daily Habits”.   Click here and scroll down about 2/3 of the page to learn more about my “10 Daily Habits” course and other courses and programs I offer.

Share your thoughts on contribution below!

What’s up with Social Media?

Social media is an ever evolving, changing and growing topic.  If you’re in business, are you on social media?  My recommendation for this is you must be on Facebook, should be on Twitter and should consider LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media channels, depending on your business.

Why?  Simply put, because it gives you the opportunity to get your message to a broader group of people. You’re in front of more people, and you’re in front of them largely for free.  But what do you share on these channels?

Do:

-Share about yourself.  Be personal and friendly, sharing a small peek into what goes on in your daily life.

-Highlight clearly what you do and who you are.  You may think it’s obvious what you do, but someone visiting your page for the first time wouldn’t.  Include relevant keywords for your business.

-Talk to and interact with others.  It is called social media after all.

-Tell people how you can help them.  This is where you can share a bit about your services, products and do some promotion.

-Share other people’s stuff.  Helping them get their message out is important too.

-Schedule your social media.  Whether you’ve got a team of people who sit around and manage your social media or it’s just you, I recommend that you schedule your posts.  You simply can’t be in front of the computer all day posting your tweets and posts and expect to get anything done.

Don’t:

-Share irrelevant stuff.  If you’re a mom, tweeting about parenting topics, don’t tweet about how drunk you got last night, unless it relates to a blog post you’re highlighting.

-Have Facebook update Twitter and vice versa.  Take the extra 30 seconds to create separate posts for each.  You’re not taking full advantage of either platform if you’re having one update the other.

-Have your blog post updates to Social Media.  Take the opportunity to personally tell your followers about the post.  Having the blog do it often creates disconnected or ineffective posts.

-Only sell/tell.  You must talk, RT and post on others posts.

-Only schedule your social media.  You’re a person and your fans expect you to be involved.  Spend 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, personally on the platforms you’re involved with and comment on and RT posts.

If you’d like to hear another perspective, here’s a post by my friend Joy about social media.  What questions do you have about social media, and what social media related topics would you like future blog posts to be about?  Share your thoughts below.

Let’s Go for a Ride!

May is National Bike Month in the USA.  Why should you spend more time on your bike?  Today we’re going to share stories, top reasons to ride and resources for all the bike loving friends out there!

Top Reasons to Ride:

1-66% of American adults are overweight. Ouch!

2-Gas costs are rising and biking is a great alternative until they find a feasible solution to the challenge.

3-It’s fun!  Getting on a bike isn’t as difficult on the body as running or as circumstantial as swimming, but it is great exercise that just about everyone can do!

4-Biking is good for the environment.  Getting out in nature is good for not only you but also nature!  If you’re biking you’re reducing your footprint and helping make the world a greener place.

5-It’s also a relatively inexpensive, fun activity and mode of transportation.

6-The whole family can do it!  Everyone from the little ones up to the grandparents can all ride bikes, so it’s a perfect family activity.

Stories:

Personally, I grew up in a quiet town where we could ride our bikes all over the neighborhood which was lots of fun and a great way to spend summers.  I also remember one vacation where we took our bikes with us and went biking at some national parks.

Laurie shared “My kids get a kick out of it when I tell them they I didn’t own a car until after college graduation. Since we still live in the same county where I lived as a kid, I tell them stories of times when I had a cycling adventure near where we are just then. One of my kids has taken up the cycling banner and whenever she’s bored or stressed, she automatically tosses on her helmet and goes riding around the neighborhood for a little while. It’s great!”

Sarah said “I’m a typical oldest sibling. Picked on my little sisters. I was real good at riding a bike and my middle sister was always timid. I’d zoom past her real close and scare her. At that age (grade school) I thought it was funny, now I see it as just plain bullying. But I was doing this over and over, zooming past her and circle around her making her squeal. Well, later I’m riding along minding my own business and something happened and I was on the ground in a pile of tiny broken up concrete from the drive-way. I brushed it off and pretended it didn’t happen. Got a big gash in my knee though and still have the scar!”

Resources:

Need a new bike?  Here’s a simple guide that will get you started.

Training Peaks is a free training log, plans and even has an awesome route program that you can check out what other cyclists are doing in the area.

A couple groups you can check out are League of American Bicyclists, Map My Ride, Biking around the world, and USA Triathlon.

Don’t forget your helmet, and always remember to be courteous and careful around bikers.   Share your bike stories and tips below!

What’s Inside Your Head?

How stressed are you?  If you’re a parent, have a job, are in a relationship or are alive today, chances are you have some stress in your life.  May is Mental Health month in America.  It is really important to not only have discussions to remove negative stereotypes around some of the mental health challenges that people have, but also to do all you can to support your mental and emotional health.

Let’s start with our eyes.  This is one of the two main ways that you can help to improve your mental state.  Don’t watch the news, period.  Limit your TV watching to a few hours per day (preferably 1-2).  Also limit your newspaper and online reading to as little negative or depressing stuff as possible.   We’re in a culture where we’re surrounded by bad news and sad stories.  If enough people stop watching certain programs the TV stations will have to rethink what they’re offering to their viewers.  So when you’re not watching the news and TV, start reading the good news, books that will educate you and uplift your spirit.  (Same goes for the kids!)

Second, our ears.  This is a more difficult because you can’t just turn off the coworker who always complains that the sky is falling.  What you can do is be proactive with your words.  When you’re hearing something you don’t like, ask to change the subject or turn the discussion from a complaining session to a discovery session coming up with options on how to fix or remedy the complaints.  The same goes for friends and family who always point out the tough stuff.  Limit your exposure to things that aren’t good for your ears.

Finally, support your mind.  First, put good stuff in.  That means the food and things you read and hear, should be carefully selected.  Do your body and mind a favor by feeding it with good stuff.  Second, give it support.  Get enough sleep at night, exercise weekly, and don’t have bad habits like smoking or drugs.

Get connected with Mental Health America, National Institute of Mental Health, and WebMD to learn more.  There are also thousands of groups online (check out Facebook for some), and in your local area who you can connect with and get support on a more personal level.

Don’t let mental health get bypassed in your life.  Do all you can to support the brain that helps you function.

Clean Up Your Room!

If your mom walked into your room, would she say it’s clean?  Don’t worry, tomorrow May 10 is National Clean Up Your Room Day, so just tell mom to show up on the 11th.  Here are a couple things you can do for this “holiday” as well as things that, should you do them daily, would make this event unnecessary.

1-Right Closets: they are the number one saver and challenge for most people.  Either your closet is the best thing that happened to you since sliced bread, or you can’t wait until someone comes up with something better.  Even with a specially designed system like ClosetMaid or something else, you could still be challenged by your closet.  If you have a bad relationship with your closet, this is one of the first things you’ll have to tackle with this event, and every day.  Work with an organizer or get a system put in that does work for you.  Once you’ve got the closet handled, you can begin to work on the rest of your room.

2-Right Rooms: this simply means, to the best of your ability, keep the kitchen stuff in the kitchen, the clothes in your bedroom and bathroom stuff in the bathroom or hall.  Doing this on a daily basis will help reduce the general clutter around your home and you’ll be less frustrated because things will be where you expect them to be.  Most importantly, if at all possible, don’t store things in the room where you don’t use them.  This means that your kitchen cabinet shouldn’t be the home for your shoes, bath soaps shouldn’t be in the bedroom and your pots and pans shouldn’t be in the bathroom.  Ok-maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but take a look at where you’re storing things and see if it really makes sense.

3-Right Options: you know how you throw stuff on the floor, desk, counter or table because you don’t have time to put it away?  The biggest reason you do this is because you don’t like your options and how you’ve got your storage set up.  If you can’t easily access your clothes hamper, your clothes more frequently than not will end up making a mess on the floor.  If you don’t have room in your closets, give stuff away so there’s room.  If you simply don’t have a place to put something, you need to either reevaluate what you’ve got or invest in a place (bookshelf, hamper, boxes) to give your strewn items a home.

4-Right Actions: since we’re assuming your room is messy, let’s start with picking everything up and putting everything in the organized closet, room and option that we’ve set up in #1-3.  It will take you a little time to figure out how things work best for you and when you work best with cleaning up.  Don’t get frustrated or give up if it takes a few weeks to really get the hang of it or get things in the places that work best for you.

Going Forward:

-If you’ve got a system that works for you, organized closets, and rooms with room it will be a lot easier for you to keep up with it on a day to day basis.

-Make it a game or have rewards.  This is a great idea for your kids, or for you!  Everyone needs encouragement, so why not plan it into your organizing?  Plan that you can watch your favorite TV show if you pick up the house. Plan that your kids can have 10 (more) minutes of video games (or something they really like) every time they clean/pick up their room.

Where will you start with cleaning up your room today?  Share your first steps and any questions you have below.