On April 21 my 81 year-old mother had a complete hip replacement and I turned completely 60 years old. For over six months she suffered with increasing pain and struggled with what she should do about it. During that time I agonized over speaking my age to others and grappled with what I would do in the next phase of my business.
My mother’s surgery was a marvelous success and her rehab is right on track. I have come out of my ” how old are you now? ” closet and have rebranded my practice to embrace my calling over 20 years ago-helping healthy transitions happen fast.
On the top of this page is my new logo. It is a bird dog on point. People who know me well are aware of my love for these dogs, but when they see the logo they ask, “So what is the point of the bird dog for your business?” The logo is a metaphor for the three step process I follow when I coach a leader or consult with a team facing a complex change or a complicated opportunity.
Get on point. Sharpen your focus.
Bird dogs run fast while hunting, but then do just the opposite of what nature instructs virtually every other dog to do. When a well-trained bird dog, like my English setter Annie, hits the scent of a quail, she will slow down, then freeze and focus on that one thing that is truly important. All her gifts, talents and skills are aligned on her purpose.
Honor others. Strengthen your relationships.
Bird dogs are trained to acknowledge any other dog that is on point by stopping immediately and pointing. This is called backing or honoring. No matter the lack of stature of the first dog on point, every dog in the field will halt, honor and hold steady until the first dog moves off point or their master says to move.
Know what’s important now. Simplify everything.
On a successful hunt, a bird dog retrieves any game that is harvested and fetches it into its master’s hand. Because there are many distractions in the field, the dog will act on this assignment immediately so no game is lost. One bird placed in one hand, one at a time. It’s as simple as that.
This process, like a good bird dog perhaps, will create a clearing where we can slow down, focus on what matters most and build a simple plan to quickly act on what matters next.
I hope my business scheme turns out as well as my mother’s surgery. She had a great surgeon, but we know her success is due in large part to her determination, the vision she has for her life and her confidence in God’s hand always at work. Maybe these qualities run in the family.
What changes will you be facing soon? How are you preparing to make sure your next move achieves your vision of a healthy transition in your leadership and life?
You have to slow down to go fast – Old racecar driver’s axiom
When you reach our age you finally know what you want to do, but don’t have the energy to do it. – A discouraging note pinned on one the 60 birthday cards I received on my 60th birthday this year.
Think of many things. Do one. – Portuguese proverb
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.– T. S. Eliot
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6 (NIV)