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?

A Good Mentor Gives Feedback

“Mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.” – George Lucas

We benefit from a mentor by learning from their experience. However, a great mentor will go beyond that basic premise and provide specific feedback for improvement and growth.

A mentoring relationship that is well developed breaks down the barriers to open dialogue. High levels of success are achievable when you and your mentor embrace the following in your relationship.

1. Be humble. We like to impress people with our knowledge and experience. A great mentoring relationship is not based on pride, but on humility.

2. Be authentic. We tend to exaggerate important moments in our lives. We live them several times in our memories, and they tend to take on even more importance. A great mentoring relationship defines the reality of challenges and goals. It allows discussion of unaltered truth.

3. Be realistic. We desire immediate results from our efforts. A great mentoring relationship will balance short term and long term gains. When we achieve short term improvements while working on longer term benefits, we will have exceptional results that last.

Developing a relationship that is productive takes time. Time is what allows trust and respect to grow. Finding a great mentor is a challenge worth the effort.

Don’t Let Perfection Get in the Way

Perfection is defined as reaching the highest attainable standard. In my experience we are sometimes stalled by focusing on perfection. If you have ever delayed taking action because you are afraid that you are not ready or something is not good enough, then you understand how perfection can get in the way of progress. Here are some thoughts on perfection.

1. Don’t confuse perfection and excellence. Excellence requires great results, not perfect results. Release yourself from perfection and create  excellence.

2. Action provides the process to change a vision of perfection into something tangible. Any form of perfection, or even excellence, only resides within our mind until we take action. Ideas need to be turned into results which can only happen with action..

3. Mistakes drive improvement. We improve through practice. We learn from mistakes. We can only get better by making the mistakes that provide insight into advancement.

“Perfection belongs to narrated events, not to those we live.” said Primo Levi. Life is messy. Only in our minds can perfection exist, and I don’t want to let it get in my way.

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!