Time is Money

Time is money. You can spend it. You can invest it. You cannot put time in a bank, even though it has value.

When I was very young, time did not seem to have much value. I felt time was plentiful. But the older you grow the more valuable time becomes. As we age, we make our time more useful and more treasured.

We make our time worth more by investing it in activities that make us more valuable. Isn’t that the fundamental premise for personal growth? If we grow ourselves, then our time will become more valuable. It only makes sense that we spend some time each day investing in ourselves.

Here are questions to ponder. What are you doing to make your time become more valuable? What would you like to do to make it more valuable?

A Celebration of Generosity

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan

The word today in this quote made me pause and think about my efforts in helping others. My business is about helping others, and I also volunteer with several local organizations. Yet it made me reflect on the value I have for generosity.

The first thought that comes to most of our minds is money. But generosity is much more. It is as simple as taking the time to provide a service to another person. Life would be very boring if we were not driven to help others. Helping a friend, a family member, a co-worker, or a neighbor is what can give our life significance on a daily basis.

Most of my service time is spent with groups organized through the church, but I also spend time mentoring others. Many professionals provide  some pro bono work, and I decided i would like to do the same. I have never thought of coaching in terms of a generosity I can provide.  Going forward a portion of my coaching hours each month will be provided on a pro bono basis.

I have provided sample coaching sessions in the past to potential clients, but I am excited that this venture will be different. This will not be an introduction to coaching, but ongoing coaching. I plan to offer selected individuals at a minimum three months of coaching. I would like to use 10% of my monthly work hours in this fashion.

Interested? Stay tuned to this newsletter (or register if you are not already registered) for more information in the next week or two. I am ready to celebrate my ability to help others, what can you do to be more generous on a daily basis?

It’s Urgent!

Moving with urgency means being action oriented, fast-paced, and swift. A sense of urgency can positively impact results for individuals and teams. However, the pace is relative based on your own experience and efforts.

As a leader I know an urgent pace for some is more accelerated than for others. It makes creating a sense of urgency a challenge. This week I share some of my thoughts on urgency and urge you to think about how they may affect your results.

1. Reflection. When I reach a milestone, I usually take time to reflect on lessons learned. One of the questions, I ask myself is “how could it have been achieved faster?” I try to determine where the pace was dictated by resources, people, knowledge, or outside influences. This understanding can help future activities, and strengthen the lessons learned.

2. Observation. Since pace is relative, it is important to observe the change of pace. Ideally I would like to see all parts of an activity or project accelerate, but if some area is lacking, it needs closer examination.

3. Results. Urgency should bring results quicker. But you risk increasing errors, or skipping important steps. I have learned that increasing urgency with a team also requires increasing the diligence in monitoring and evaluation of results. Urgency can drive extraordinary results, but only if care is given excellence.

4. Importance. Orrin Woodward said, “When the urgent crowds out the important, people urgently accomplish nothing of value.” Not everything should be urgent. Urgency loses its power if everything needs to be done first. Make only the most important thing urgent.

Urgency can help us become better, but we can also become better at being urgent. Have a great week!

Four Certainties about Competence

As a reflection exercise, I sometimes like think about something I value from my perspective.  Recently I spent some time thinking about competence. Competence means possessing the skill, knowledge, and ability to effectively perform. It provides significance and context for our actions. Here are four things I know about competence.

1. I am never as good as I think I am. It is human nature to see things unfold better in our minds than in reality. I never practice missing a 30 foot golf putt in my mind. But when playing, I miss more than I make.  When I take time to think through an idea before taking action, I plan for a positive outcome. The basis of self-confidence is belief that we can be successful, the reality is we must fail along the way.

2. I can always improve. Improvement is a never ending process because I am not perfect. I am not even close to perfect. Any competence I possess can be improved. I can gain new knowledge, or increase my skill, or invest time in practice. Master pianists have natural talent, but their competence comes from hard work. It is the same with me.

3. I care more about my skills than anyone else. Others can only judge my competence from their perspective. However, my perspective is more important. My evaluation of myself determines my actions. Do I work to improve, or am I content with my current level of competence? External influences affect my plans, but ultimately from within me comes my motivation to improve. No one can force me to become better without my participation.

4. I must use and improve my competence in order to keep it. If a surgeon returns from a five year hiatus, would you want to be their first patient for surgery? If I do not use my skills, they will begin to lose proficiency. Some investment of time is required to maintain my level of competence.

Throughout our lives we gain and lose competence based on the decisions we make and the time that we invest. Taking time to reflect on competence has helped me challenge myself. How do you improve or maintain your competence level?