Improving a Situation

If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the only thing over which I have control – myself. – Stephen Covey
There are times we all get in a rut. I’m not talking about the single event that requires a single response. I’m talking about those ruts . . . a week of events, and responses, that seem to create pessimism and negativism.
You are the only one who can control the solution for you. Press pause – STOP – long enough to step back and assess what is required for the situation to change. Talk to respected and trusted friends, family members, and colleagues – stop the negative spiral of events.
Once you identify the problems in the situation, now it is time to step-up and act with purpose. It is up to you. There is no room to blame others or complain . . . take control and make a difference.

Untapped Potential

You have tremendous untapped potential; strive to set new goals and reach new heights.
Yes, we should all be proud and content with our work. We should all be pleased with our experiences. We must also realize that we are all on a journey . . . a journey that never stops.
As Daniel Coyle shares in The Talent Code, “Although talent feels and looks predestined, in fact we have a good deal of control over what skills we develop, and we have more potential than we might ever presume to guess.”
You are talented, skilled, and successful. The joy in our lives is that each day we can be even better. So today, think about you where you are and then reflect on where you want to be. You have incredible potential . . . never stop striving for excellence.

Master your weaknesses

It isn’t about what you can do really well. Life is about discovering – and then perfecting – the things you don’t know how to do yet.
In his recent book, Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin shares, “If you set a goal of becoming an expert in your business, you would immediately start doing all kinds of things you don’t know how to do.”
As we embark on a new year, as we set-out to lead, to teach, and to learn, we must embrace the idea that the skills we already possess will not make us great. We all have talent; if we didn’t we wouldn’t be in our current position. We all have competence; we have experiences that permit us to be in our specific roles. What sets some people apart is the drive . . . the drive to perfect what we will be asked to do in the future which isn’t currently in our skill set.
Think about your current role . . . what you are asked to do each and every day. Now . . . don’t spend too much time today doing what you already do well. You’ve got that! Take time today to embrace that which is difficult . . . take time to master the skills that are your weaknesses.

Don’t shout at the wind

Make your point, share your reasoning, and move on. Don’t spend time arguing with people that don’t listen. It’s like shouting at the wind.
I never expect everyone to agree with me. In fact, I thrive on being asked tough questions, challenging my current thinking, and seeking to improve my performance. Being challenged, embracing for the productive discomfort of self-reflection, and having an idea evolve are some of the great joys of working with really smart people. We have a wonderful team and an amazing community . . . no idea is above reproach. There isn’t a decision or process in our district that can’t be improved.
Keeping this in mind . . . we do deal with some people that simply refuse to listen. We deal with some people in our professional – and personal – lives that seem to renounce the use of reason. There are some individuals who refuse to press pause; we interact with some individuals who are uninterested in opposing viewpoints. These folks simply use emotion and repetition to repel any new viewpoints. 
When we encounter people that seem to be unwavering in their beliefs – and unwilling to listen to any reason – we must simply move on. Arguing with a wall – shouting at the wind – is a waste of time. We have too many important tasks, our time is too valuable, to try to stem the tide of people unwilling to listen.
As Thomas Paine reminds us, “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

Never Argue with Negative People

Surround yourself with positive people; put yourself in positive situations. Your associations directly contribute to your mindset.
Have you ever noticed that if you spend too much time with negative people that you start to become negative?
Is there a person that is in your life that you can count on to be negative? Is there someone who always has a negative thing to say? Is there someone who is a complainer?
Social media has created a forum for negativism and complaining. There are groups and places specifically engineered for negativism and contempt. Don’t fall into this trap.
When you spend time with positive, optimistic people your own attitude shifts towards a more positive, optimistic mindset. Purposefully think about the locations – both physical and electronic – that you spend time. Associate with the type of people, in the places, that support your aspirations and goals. 
Like Mark Twain reminds us, “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Build trust, keep your promises

Nothing destroys trust faster than making and breaking a promise. Conversely, nothing builds trust faster than keeping a promise. – Stephen Covey
People remember what you do, not what you say. Before you make a promise, before you commit to action, make sure you are prepared to see it through. The cost of breaking a promise is too great to make weak commitments. You have the power to be true to your word.
In order to honor your promises, make sure that you have the right mindset and are ready to step-up when you speak. Don’t make promises out of emotion or on autopilot; be intentional and steadfast to your convictions.

Schedule your priorities

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey
Our lives have become too busy, too hectic to fail in setting priorities. It is essential that we take control of our daily schedules; it is imperative that our values drive where we spend our time.
Before you take a look at the calendar, take a moment to get your mind right. What is important to you? What do you value? Now . . . act with purpose. Make time for what’s important and valued; don’t permit unimportant events to monopolize your calendar.