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Month: July 2020

Young Again


Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips, and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity,  of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.  This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty.  Nobody grows old merely by a number of years; we grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.  Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage, and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.

Author: Samuel Ullman, Educator, Entrepreneur, and Civic Leader.  Birmingham, Alabama (1840-1924)

Two years ago, we had a bad drought in our area. One seemingly healthy tree in our backyard appeared to be dying. We called an arborist to look at it. He did and said it was dead. Immediately we feared that the trees nearby might catch the same thing and die as well.  He said, “ you have nothing to worry about because a virus or disease will not usually kill a healthy tree. These things are floating in the air all the time, and the only reason your tree got sick and died, was because it was under a lot of stress from the drought. So, it wasn’t an outside virus that took the tree. It was the atmosphere that produced stress inside the tree that made it weak and vulnerable to the disease.

“ Class of 2020 -We will Survive” was the banner on the tee shirt worn by a high school senior I walk past last week. “ We just have to get through this” is the language I hear almost every day when working with business teams and leaders.   There is an atmosphere of a drought that is being perpetuated in our world, doing it best night and day to keep people living in emotional and spiritual stress. Still, thankfully each of us can choose to participate or not.

Journal Entry: If you’re tired of living in like this and you want to do more than survive then, here are two things to try:  First – don’t walk away from negative people – RUN! Second- keep running, then start j playing, being silly, and laughing like you did when you were young. Remember your ideals, put your aerials back up, and try riding the wave of Youth in your leadership and life.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. – The Bible, New Testament the book of Romans 12:2

The top 10 funniest jokes of all time according to kids:

  1. Why was the sand wet? Because the sea weed! (52%)
  2. What do you call a blind dinosaur? Doyouthinkhesaurus (45%)
  3. What did the policeman say to his tummy? Freeze you’re under a vest (44%)
  4. Doctor, Doctor! Help, I feel like a pair of curtains! Pull yourself together then (42%)
  5. What’s the fastest vegetable? A runner bean! (41%)
  6. What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite! (40%)
  7. What’s brown and sticky? A stick! (39%)
  8. What do you call a blind deer? No eye deer (38%)
  9. Why should you be careful when it’s raining cats and dogs? You might step in a poodle! (38%)
  10. Do you want to hear a joke about pizza? Never mind, it’s too cheesy (37%)

Feeling Overwhelmed – The Eisenhower Matrix

Discouragement often manifests itself as personal disorganization – which is rooted in a temporary inability to prioritize.

Last week, I was on a consulting call with a group of managers who were, not surprisingly, feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, as were many of their direct reports. We began discussing how to move yourself and others forward through these times of growing uncertainty.  Our question for the session became “How can we influence others to be more positive and productive when all of us feel stuck in – what is going to change next?”.

I introduced the concept, “your feeling will follow your actions.” That is, doing something will change the way you feel faster than waiting until you feel like doing something. Then we discussed a leadership concept from my new book, Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through yours 1″ Then they began to come up with some ideas to support and encourage their dispirited teammates.

Here are a few of their ideas:

  1. Remember everyone is on an emotional roller coaster
  2. Listen, don’t try to fix – just do your best to understand
  3. Don’t judge how a person acts or reacts now
  4. Have a plan and share it often*
  5. Help people prioritize work tasks *

They realize that the first three ideas are a mindset they needed to hold on to and model every day,  but numbers four and five were actions they could take that could help someone and, in turn, maybe motivate them to be more positive as well. They realized that sharing a plan more often and prioritizing tasks went hand in glove. But how to prioritize and to help others do the same was the challenging part. They asked about a tool. Thankfully there is one invented by someone much smarter than me.

The inventor of the Tool 

The Eisenhower Matrix is named after Dwight David Eisenhower – an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the United States Army and served as Supreme Commander, who prepared the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.

Eisenhower made tough decisions continuously about which of the many tasks he should focus on each day. This finally led him to invent the world-famous Eisenhower Method, which today helps us prioritize by urgency and importance.

The management group had seen and used this matrix before but never realized the Eisenhower connection.  They like most of us when we get stressed, tend to forget the simple things that could make our life easier. Some of them are trying this Tool now. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Journal Entry: Is this a good time for you to apply this matrix, with its principles of prioritizing, delegating, and scheduling, to help yourself and others get out of a funk and start becoming more productive and positive in leadership and life?

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning

1 Seasons come and go. Life is a series of transitions in which you decide to either loathe the change or learn to love yourself more and serve others willingly. Helping another person get through their struggles is the best way to get through yours. Observation # 8-  Roll Up your Sleeves – Leading and Living in a World of Constant Change by Michael Alan Tate 2020  

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”. Book of Proverbs 3:5-6 – The Bible

Bad Joke for the day:

What’s a horse’s top priority when voting? A stable economy.

Leadership and Life Journal  – A new way to look at the important things you already know”

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