There was an old woodcutter who impressed the king that he worked for. During the first month on the job, the woodcutter was able to cut 20 trees down. During the second month on the job, the woodcutter worked just as hard but was only able to cut down 18 trees. During the third month on the job, the woodcutter continued to work hard but was only able to cut down 15 trees. The kind went to talk to the woodcutter about his decrease in productivity. The woodcutter didn’t have an answer for the king. He put in the same amount of effort, but just couldn’t keep up the results. The king asked the woodcutter, “when was the last time you sharpened your ax?” The woodcutter couldn’t recall. The king said, “There’s your problem. You are working hard, but you are not prepared for the work.”
Hard work is great, but a piece that is so often forgotten is the preparation before we go out and do the work. Don’t get caught being unprepared, the key is not only to work hard but be ready for anything.
Did you know that in most human interactions, we only remember 7% of the words that people say to us? That means 93% of what we base our reactions on are not even the words that people say to us. 38% of a person’s tone is remembered in interactions, and a whopping 55% of the person’s body language is remembered. This has always blown my mind until you actually stop to think about it. “Actions speak louder than words” immediately comes to mind when I hear this stat. People are judging what we say, not on our words, but on HOW we say those words and the body language we use to express our feelings about those words. Every time we are listening to another person, it is so important to key in on his or her body language to try and gauge what they are truly saying. On the flip side, we need to ensure that our words, tone, and body language are all in line together to be effective communicators.
There is a great story I heard once about a farmer from the old country. He was a rich farmer because he was the only farmer who had a horse. He went into town one day and everyone told him how lucky and blessed he was to have a horse. The farmer said, “Maybe, maybe not, we’ll see.” The next day, the horse escaped its pen. The farmer went into town and everyone told him how horrible it was that his horse ran away. The farmer said, “Maybe, maybe not, we’ll see.” The following day the horse came back with four wild horses. The farmer went into town and everyone told him how lucky and blessed he was. The farmer said, “Maybe, maybe not, we’ll see.” The next day, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the wild horses. The wild horse threw the son off and his leg broke. The farmer went into town and everyone told him how horrible it was that his son’s leg was broken. The farmer said, “Maybe, maybe not, we’ll see.” The next day the army came looking for willing and able bodied young men to join the war. They saw the farmer’s son had a broken leg and passed him. There are so many ups and downs in life, it never does people good to get too high or too low. Take everyone moment for what it is and always be willing to try and win every moment.
This quote by the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan speaks to the power of action and determination to achieve success.
In life, there are those who simply hope and desire success, but don't take any concrete steps toward making it happen. Then there are those who actively wish for success, but don't take any action toward making it a reality. And finally, there are those who not only want and wish for success but actively work to make it happen. These individuals are the ones who understand that success is not handed to anyone but rather earned through hard work, perseverance, and determination. Which one are you?
The takeaway from this quote is that success doesn't just come to those who wish for it, but to those who take the necessary actions to make it happen. So, if you want to achieve success, stop hoping and wishing and start making it happen. Take small steps, be consistent, and never give up. With determination and hard work, you too, can make your dreams a reality.
His Airness reminds us of the importance of taking action in pursuit of our goals. So, let us be like the "other people" who make it happen, and take control of our own success today!
Did you know it is not possible to be angry, sad, or afraid while being thankful? This is a true fact. It is literally impossible, to have any of those emotions, while you are practicing gratitude. So many of us forget just how lucky and blessed we are in this life. Today’s world is all about comparison. We are bombarded by social media making us compare ourselves to others. Instead of doing this, let’s stop worrying about everyone else; let’s stop comparing our lives to someone else’s. This week, if you are feeling angry, sad, or afraid, think about something you are thankful for and give thanks that you get to take part in this beautiful thing we call life.
I love this quote, so many of life’s failures are from people who didn’t stay the course, but I think most of life’s failures are from people who never even got started. Is there anything in life that you’ve always wanted to do, but never did? I know that I can come up with 100 different things I haven’t done, that I wanted to do and with each one of those things, I know that I can come up with 100 different excuses on why I didn’t even start it. Science shows us that once an object is in motion, it will tend to stay in motion. This is true about us chasing our dreams or starting a new project. Once we get started, it becomes a lot harder for us to stop. Once we have actually begun a project, we tend to finish because of momentum. If there is anything you have been putting off this week, don’t put it off anymore. Get in motion, and keep that train rolling.
A man walked into his boss's office. He told her that he was quitting because the company had a toxic work environment. The boss asked for examples, the man said, “I hear people gossiping, my direct trainer is a hypocrite, and people are on their phones all day instead of working.” The boss handed the man a full glass of water and said, “Walk around the office without spilling water three times. After that, you are free to quit.” The man did as he was instructed and came back to his boss. She said, on your walk, did you hear anyone gossiping, or being a hypocrite, or on their phones?” The man replied no to each of these. The boss said of course not because you were focused on the glass and not spilling it. The same can be applied to our lives. If we are constantly walking around and only focusing on the negative, our whole world view will be negative. If we go around looking for opportunity, we will see a world filled with positivity and opportunity to improve!
Give yourself grace if you have faced challenges and may have fallen off the path. For those of us that are religious, we know God gives us grace; it’s time to give yourself some as well. Know that whatever setbacks you have faced, most faiths believe that this setback is being put there for a reason. A higher power is trying to strengthen us to see even great success in the future. In the powerful words of Kelly Clarkson, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Below is a short parable about the power of facing challenges and setbacks head-on. We can make these setbacks a permanent fixture in our life, or they can be a small blip on our road to success.
“One day a small gap appeared in the cocoon, through which the butterfly had to appear. A boy, who accidentally passed by, stopped and watched how the butterfly was trying to get out of the cocoon. It took a lot of time, the butterfly was trying very hard, and the gap was as little as before. It seemed that the power would leave the butterfly soon.
The boy decided to help the butterfly. He took a penknife and cut the cocoon. The butterfly immediately got out, but its body was weak and feeble, and the wings were barely moving.
The boy continued to watch the butterfly, thinking that now its wings would spread and it would fly. However, that did not happen.
For the rest of its life, the butterfly had to drag its weak body and wings that weren’t spread. It was unable to fly because the boy did not realize that an effort to enter through the narrow gap of the cocoon was necessary for the butterfly, so that the life-giving fluid would move from the body to the butterfly’s wings and that the butterfly could fly. Life forced the butterfly to leave its shell hardly so that it would become stronger and would be able to grow and develop.
If we were allowed to live without meeting difficulties, we would not be viable. Life gives us challenges to make us stronger.”
This quote has been sticking with me recently. Based on how things are going in your life, it is 100% ok to be disappointed, what isn’t ok, is to lose hope that things will get better. Hope alone is not enough to help get us out of a situation that we aren’t pleased with, but it is a starting point. If we don’t believe that we can get better, that we can do better, or that things will get better, we have no hope and things won’t turn around, but even a little bit of hope can do wonders. Hope leads us to see new solutions to our issues. Hope allows us to reach out and get help. Hope allows us to know that by putting in hard work, putting in 100% of ourselves into anything, we have the chance to make things better. Don’t ever lose hope.
It is a fun time of year. We are just coming off Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Spending time with family and friends that maybe we haven’t seen in a while usually will lead to fun memories. There is a sense of a new beginning in the air; we have new chances to improve ourselves or our relationships. With all this optimism and excitement, it can be easy to forget that not everyone has these same feelings. This time of year can be challenging for many people in our lives: husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, cousins, friends, etc. We don’t always know what is happening in other people’s lives. We don’t know what issues or demons they may be facing. Many people can put on a brave face and make it seem like everything is ok when it really isn’t. This week, reach out to your people and check on them. Make sure they are all doing ok, and if they aren’t, be there for them. Let’s all be servant leaders, and let us all start right in our backyard.
Wow isn’t this so true. How many of us have worked with bosses, coaches, supervisors, etc. who said one thing, but acted in a totally different way? I know I have. It reminds me of that old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This is a great way to cop out of your responsibilities as a leader. On the flip side, when we, as leaders, take these words to heart, it is amazing to see the commitment we start to gain for our team members. We are all in charge of the type of team/organization we want to create. Do we want to create a team that is complacent or a team that is committed? I know my answer is that I want a team that is not only committed to one another, but to me as the leader as well.
As soon as you get the title of “leader,” you gain an enormous amount of power and responsibility. The second that you walk into your job, school, practice, all eyes are on you. Your team is watching you to see what your words, tone, and body language are going to tell them about the upcoming day. If you come in with body language dejected, words and tones all being negative, how do you think your team is going to respond? Not great, not great at all. Now I’m not saying that you always have to be Polly Positive all of the time, but how you carry yourself will show you how your team is going to interact the rest of the day.
We, as leaders, should never try to hold our team members to a standard that we too can’t rise to. According to a recent Gallup poll, leaders account for “at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.” This means that we, as leaders, have a direct impact on how engaged our team members are. If we show them that we are engaged with the new training the company has brought in, or we are on board (even though we may not fully agree) with the new direction the team is going, our own team members will follow suit. How leaders act and interact with people everyday is always being consumed by their followers, so they know when leaders are being true and honest.
There is a simple solution to starting the process of gaining commitment from your team members. It is to act how you want them to act. You set the example for culture, engagement, effort. When you set this standard, your team will follow, you are the one setting the tone for your team.
As this new adventure starts, I want to reflect on one of my favorite quotes. One of the mantras I’ve started to truly believe in is to “Trust the process.” It really hit me the last few years as a Head Varsity Basketball Coach when my Assistant Coach, Sean Garczynski, started saying it to the team. In life, we are always so focused on the outcome, the end goal, and reaching that finish line. It is great to set big goals, but it is sad to see people not enjoying the process.
Everyone is so obsessed with instant gratification; I want my food now, I want to get a promotion now, can’t I just graduate already? If this is our mindset, we miss out on so much. It is so rare that people are overnight successes. We may think that, but we don’t see how much blood, sweat, and tears went into getting that person to be an overnight success. As you’re setting big goals in life, remember to enjoy the steps you take to get there. Enjoy the little victories; enjoy the small failures that will propel you to even bigger successes. Enjoy the exhaustion, the emotions, everything. Because once you accomplish that goal and it’s over, you know you’re going to be setting a brand new one. So, enjoy the process, it won’t always be easy, but when you get to the top of the mountain, wow...it’ll be worth it.
- Brian Hendricks