How do others experience you?

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.Oscar Wilde


You know the people . . . the people that when they walk into a room everyone is happy to see them.  These people exude positive energy; they seemingly make every situation a little better.  They bring light to darkness . . . they empower others, create optimism, and inspire joy.


You also know the people that you can’t wait to leave the room.  The individuals, that you said out loud or in your head, “thank goodness” when they leave.  These people are energy vampires.  They exude negative energy.  In fact, it takes energy to even deal with them.  They try to pull you below the line.  They tempt your inner demons and stir impulsive behavior in you.


Who are you?  Honestly, when you enter a room how do people feel about you?  You can control how people feel about you.  You can control the energy, the aura, you provide to others.  You can control how people experience you.


From Epictetus to Tim Kight

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.  – Epictetus


So . . . the heuristic E+R=O isn’t an entirely new concept.  Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who lived AD 55-135, may have beaten Tim Kight to the punch.  Now I don’t have the Greek translation, but I bet it is something along the lines of “we can’t control the events in our lives, but how we respond to each event determines the outcome.”


Our work to live discipline-driven lives, our work to bring life skills as well as academic skills to young people, and our work to intentionally respond to events in our own lives isn’t new.  We are simply putting a process in place . . . we are engaging in a system . . . to help us be more successful.


Pressing pause, getting our minds right, stepping up, and the R-factor disciplines are merely a system to help us live what Epictetus knew . . . we need to be responsible for our actions.  We need to have discipline responses to what takes place in the world around us.


Our work isn’t new . . . we aren’t introducing new concepts.  In fact, we are making life easier by sharing common systems and vocabulary.  We are a team – we are singular culture in a complex world.  Our response to the complexity of the world around us will determine our success.


I Love to Laugh

It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.  -Thomas Aquinas


I love to laugh.  I reflect back on Mary Poppins and think about the tea party on the ceiling and the joyful song “I love to laugh.”  It puts a smile on my face and a tune in my heart.


I enjoy a good joke . . . I enjoy the playful banter of colleagues who enjoy each other’s company.  It is important – in any profession and in any role – that we take the time to build relationships that extend beyond the work.  Great organizations support each other, know each other . . . great organizations laugh and cry together.


Life is more than work and work is more than life.  Discipline-driven doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy each other, we don’t laugh, and we don’t joke around.  Part of being disciplined in our lives is finding the time – the right time – to simply enjoy life together.

Harmony of Happiness

Harmony of Happiness

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.  – Mahatma Gandhi


When our lives are aligned, we find fulfillment.  When our personal and professional goals are complimentary, we find enjoyment.  When we balance our work and personal lives, we find happiness.


When we are out of alignment . . . when our lives are out of balance . . . life is a struggle.  We find ourselves fighting internal battles.  We spend energy on the inner battle rather than on living our purpose.


When we are discipline-driven, when we live focused on the outcomes we desire, we are fulfilled, joyful, and happy.  It isn’t enough to talk the talk.  It isn’t enough to go through the paces.  You must find the commitment; you must achieve the harmony.  It must be happening “in you” before it can happen “through you.”


Develop discipline-driven skills . . . align your thoughts, words, and actions.  Know what you want; know who you want to be.  Live the life you want others to see . . . live the life desiring of your purpose and calling.

Gaining Strength

Gaining Strength

We gain the strength of the temptation we resist.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sometimes it isn’t what we do, but what we don’t do.  As we press pause in our lives, as we take the time to get our minds and thoughts right before we act, often the best response to an event is resist the temptation of the easy, default-driven action.


When faced with an emotional, angry individual it is easy to match their level of emotion and anger.  The temptation is to meet them at their level . . . the discipline-driven response is be a calming force in a storm.  When tempted by greed or personal fame, it is important to focus on purpose.  Each time we win the battle to live a discipline life, each time we press pause to fight our default, easy impulses we gain strength.  As we build our skills, as we live a more discipline-driven life, we gain strength.


Part of pressing pause – part of taking a moment to get our minds right in preparation for our response – is in knowing our own temptations.  It is important to identify our own challenges, our own temptations.  What is your default-driven response and how can you be more intentional in responding?  Once you’ve identified the below the line response you are on the way to having a stronger, discipline response in the future.

A Good Head and a Good Heart

A Good Head and a Good Heart

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.Nelson Mandela


There are people in our lives who are role models; these are the people who inspire us to pursue excellence and reach for the stars.  When I think of these people in my life, when I reflect on my aspirations as an educator and leader, I think of those with the great combination of smarts and heart.  I think of those who know their stuff and have the passion to make it happen.


Think of those who inspire and empower you to be more.  The heart leads the way, but the knowledge paves the path.  Leaders have the job skills, the technical ability to get the work done.  Leaders also understand the necessary life skills needed to build connections, create trust, and develop relationships.


The combination of jobs skills and life skills are the catalyst for successfully leading to achieve results.  Each of us is growing, learning and developing . . . our journey is never complete.  We must carefully walk as we go through life – we stop at each crossroads and ask ourselves is our heart aligned with our head.  We must be wise, ask for assistance, walk in love, and be discipline.

Finding Relaxation, Seeking Balance

Finding Relaxation, Seeking Balance

“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.  –Herodotus


What do you do to relax?  Are you intentional in making time to take care of yourself?  Can your work become all consuming?


For me, there are two types of relaxation.  One is planned times to relax. Personally, this is easy for me.  I can schedule time – and be discipline in my behavior – to protect time for personal health, well-being, and relaxation.  Our family schedules vacations.  I schedule time each day for exercise and reflection.  This is important; this keeps me going.


Another type of relaxation and fun is spontaneous.  Those moments where we permit ourselves time to enjoy time with family and friends.  Those moments when we laugh, smile, and simply enjoy the moment.  These fleeting moments, those opportunities in time, are just as important for our overall health and well-being.


Take time today to savor each moment . . . to enjoy the work and the people who are with you.  Take time today to put down what electronically connects you to the entire world . . . take time to personally connect, laugh, have fun, and enjoy the relationships with those right in front of you.


Think Happy Thoughts

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”  – Eckhard Tolle


We strive for perfection.  We set lofty goals and reach for the stars.  Our desire is to complete every task, to live every day, with maximum effort and skill.  To be high achieving, to pursue our passion for growth, to become elite we must have an inner drive to be excellent in every situation.


Here’s the thing . . . we can’t allow our passion for perfection to make us unhappy.  We set lofty goals, we commit ourselves to reach for those goals, and we reflect each day on our progress.  This is growth; this is how we become Elite.  It is about the journey – not the final destination.  Our mindset, our growth mindset, is what sets us apart.  Your thoughts . . . your feelings . . . are what keep you going.


Your happiness is solely dependent on you.  Don’t let others detour you on the journey.  Set the highest goals, embrace the pursuit of excellence, and enjoy each step of the way.

Trust is the Foundation

“Whether it’s a friendship or relationship, all bonds are built on trust.  Without it, you have nothing.” – Unknown


Each and every day you create experiences for others.  How you respond to an event creates events for others.  While yes, our words are important, it is our actions that build trust.  It is the experiences that we create the consistency in our actions that builds a foundation of trust.


Unless you are trusted it is impossible for us to build relationships and bonds with others.  This trust is predicated on a predictability of experience.  Are you consistent in your inner core?  Are you true to yourself?  Think about those whom you trust the most; think about those whom you have the strongest bond.  You know them; you know their inner core.  Those who we trust the most are those who we experience with confidence.


As you reflect on people you trust, think about your own actions.  How do people experience you?  Are you consistent?  Are you true to your core?


Leadership and teaching is about personal connections.  With personal connections comes the need for deep, honest trust.  Are you building bonds through the experience you create for others?  If not . . . make a commitment to start today.

Walking Away

Walking Away

“Sometime you have to walk away from people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.” – Unknown


I am a people pleaser . . . I strive to make connections, build relationships, and solve problems.  At times to a fault, I want people to like and respect me.  I seek solutions, build bridges, and compromise when necessary.  I think divergently, creatively, and openly.  I thrive with, and seek out, others who want to find solutions.  I am an optimist; I believe we can find solutions.


There are some people I encounter who don’t share my perspective on life.  There are pessimists in our midst . . . there are people who aren’t interested in solving problems.  There are some people who simply want to find someone to blame, someone to point a finger at, and someone to become part of their circle of doom.  There are fear mongers who tap into emotions, who evoke feelings of panic, to simply revert back to yesterday’s thinking.


There are times when, after listening, evaluating, and reflecting, the best thing to do is walk away.  There are times when, even when it is against your nature, the best use of your time and energy is to walk away.  You know the situation; you are thinking of conversations right now, when shouting at the wind would be just as effective.  You know the person – you have a picture in your head – that simply doesn’t care to listen.


Give yourself permission . . . press pause and get your mind right . . . to respectfully say, “You know what, we are going to need to agree to disagree.”  Once said, walk away.  Not because you haven’t tried, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t care.  For them – you know who it is – they don’t want to honestly seek solutions.   Sometimes you just need to walk away.