Thursday, October 28, 2004

Introspection - Ok enough about you, what about me? 

Life conspires.

As seems to be the case, a number of events have lead me to pause and reflect.

1) A close (new) friend explores his personal values and objectives.
2) Another close (again) friend reveals he is also on a similar pursuit.
3) A man (a role model and true leader) dies and I attend the funeral, and listen to a poem that once moved him.

I am touched.

Witnessing, and participating in my friends' self examinations is a humbling experience. It demands incredible courage and strength to look inside for something that we find ugly and want to change. In conversation with #1 - I am truly awed, humbled. I wonder if the ugliness in me is petty, simply weakness. I wonder.

A man by the name of Ben Zion Dalfen was buried yesterday. At his funeral a poem that had once moved him was read. part of the refrain was "A mill does not grind with the water that has past". My read - take opportunities.

So I am at a point, vulnerable (maybe disposed) to introspection and I hear "A mill does not grind with the water that has past" - what do I hear? Don't miss opportunities.

Why does this resonate? because I say it daily to my 3 1/2 year old son to coach him to make decisions.

The impact on me? - Maybe the lesson that my 3 1/2 year old son is beginning to master is something that I (30 years older) need to look at myself. OUCH.

Where does this bring me? What do ugliness have I concealed from myself?

Well, I will share, but in a positive manner - these are the efforts of self improvement that I have committed to making (if you witness me slipping, please call me on it).

I will do what I say (I am already good at the say what I do part)
I will be a better husband, exceeding the wishes of my wife. (ok, I will start with being on time more).
I will be honest about my feelings - first to myself and to others - when I am in a sour mood - I now realize that I am harboring some issue that I should have either let go or spoke of. NO MORE.
I will recognize that others may NEED to have conversations that I don't need. I will engage in these. I will respect these.

Thank you for helping me to learn, God give me the strength to stay the course.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Inspiration - From a Motivational Speaker 

Just back from hearing Andy Hill speak on leadership. I have previously referenced his top ten list.
Thanks to Mitch for the "heads up".
Some interesting tidbits that I learned
"Simple is not necessarily easy"
"Arrogance does not equal strength"
"Leadership is (an extension of) authority and not power"
"The team with the best players wins"
"Demonstrate, Imitate, Correct, RepeatRepeatRepeatRepeat"
"Focus on what you can control, the outcome takes care of itself"
"I am working on that (area of improvement) and find I am a bit better"

I find myself with a question. Why/How do we learn and grow?
My 3 1/2 year old son has learned a tremendous amount. At the outset he learned by the stimuli that we (mostly his parents) presented to him. We took that as an enormous responsibility and were very sensitive to what and how he was exposed to things. As time progresses, his sources of input expanded - day care educators, peers, media, and now, more and more, himself. Jamie has a natural curiousity that I hope I play a role in nurturing and he is always eager to learn and understand. He has invented games (most memorable a finger game similar to "hello thumbkin".
I hope that he avoids one of the key challenges that I faced, namely maintaining the eagerness to learn. EVERYTHING. I don't remember when I stopped being motivated to learn (or if I ever really was motivated to learn) the information put in front of me. Not to be confused with my endless fascination with learning even esoteric information about things that strike my fancy. For some reason I don't perceive enjoyment in learning things for other people's sake. Or better, I am too short sighted to realize that in fact I was learning what other people put in front of me for MY SAKE.
How does this tie in to leadership? I see leadership as a growth enterprise. A leader is constantly expanding abilities, skills, understanding, knowledge. I am frightened somewhat by what impact my lacksidasical attitude towards learning might have on my intention to grow as a leader.
Recently I had the humbling opportunity to explore with a friend some very difficult questions about his future. I admire his insight into self. I hope that I can find similar strength (herculian) to not only HONESTLY figure out where I want to be, how to get there but, as my friend did, identify what I need to affect change over in order to arrive at my destin(y)ation.

1.2 million visits for an ebay auction 

Seth Godin pointed out in his blog about some GREAT viral marketing. While Seth raises a simple poignant question - WHY does it work. I found myself wondering something else.
When I first clicked through to the auction, there were 65000 visitors (if the counter can be trusted). I just went back to the site (the auction was ended early by the seller) there have been nearly 1.2 million visitors.
First - WOW! - great word of mouth
Second - what a pity - this ebay vendor had NO OTHER ITEMS FOR SALE! Imagine 1.2 million people click through - some will invariably see what else the guy is offering - what a missed opportunity - or am I missing something?

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