“Lead a parade!”

Well, today’s blog is more of a Monday afternoon motivator. Better late than never. Last week I attended a 2 day seminar on leadership at the University of Calgary. It was an awesome, insightful full 2 days where I learned a lot about my own leadership style, along with how to lead other people. One quote about leadership that really stuck in my mind is this one by former Premier of Alberta, the Honorable Ralph Klein, “Find a parade that is going in the same direction of you, and get out front and lead it.”

Leadership is not about fancy titles, as Ralph’s quote implies, you do not need to be Grand Marshall of a parade. Just get out there and do it. As long as you put your best foot forward and lead by example, you can achieve anything and lead anyone to great success.

Have an awesome week everyone!

J.

We are all human.

We need to remember we are all human. Do not be afraid when you are dealing with someone you view to be of a higher status than you. That person may have a fancy title behind their name or may be famous, etc, but in the end they are still human and eat, breathe, and sleep just like the rest of us.

I learned this lesson when I was in university. I was part of a student organization that facilitated international work exchanges (AIESEC). I was on my local chapters executive, as VP Marketing. The position entailed going around to local businesses to promote and sell our exchange program. I was meeting with VP’s and Presidents of many different companies, and I felt nervous as hell. I had this mental picture, why would a president of a company first of talk to me since I was only a  university student. Needless to say I was not successful in selling our exchange program, and I hadn’t generated any exchanges myself. Later my husband pointed out the fact I should have realized I was a VP as well, and was a VP meeting with another VP or President. I can’t go back and change what happened, but the lesson has stuck with me and has helped me change my perspective.

Today I sometimes have to interact with senior management in my company. Before dealing with someone who I hold to have a higher status, I always remind myself that they are human as well, and are really no different than myself. As you go about your life, remember we are all the same in the end.

You control your own destiny.

The world today is in a constant array of change. Change is unavoidable. Look at technology as an example, it has changed the moment we get to the till to purchase the latest and greatest model of cell phone, computer, you name it. That latest and greatest gets replaced at super speed by the next latest and greatest.

The corporate world is drastically changing too. The last few years have seen companies fold, and existing companies trying to figure out how to stay afloat. One of my favorite books I read recently is Robin Sharma’s “The Leader Who Had No Title.” This book is quite fitting for today’s corporate world. The title speaks  for itself in that you don’t need a fancy title or the corner office to lead.

There is a company I know of that is recently going through some changes. A friend of mine has told me that she keeps reminding her co-workers that they are in charge of their own destiny. They all work in the front lines and are part of the integral glue that holds the company together. As this team discovered, management did not realize the extent of the work that went on within the group. Therefore, instead of relying solely on management for guidance on how to restructure the team, they have chosen to work together with management to help shape their own destinies.

Remember, you are in control of your life, both your work life and your personal life.

Life’s lessons can be found everywhere!

I think a lot of people need this advice today, so I’m not going to wait until next week to share it in my regular postings.

Yesterday at the end of the day at work, I felt very frustrated and angry at some of the stuff going on in my office. I was angry for the fact that I had now lost trust and faith in some people who are suppose to be there to provide guidance. Instead of getting the truth, I was getting what I wanted to hear.

There are actually many lessons that came out of this one little incident.

First of all, once I got to my bus stop I had vented my problems to a couple of people I ride the bus with. One lady reminded me that the bus ride home could be a good thing. When she got off the bus she asked if I was feeling better, and remarkably I was. After venting I reminded myself that I choose to no longer be angry at the world and fall into the traps of complaining and landing into a life of mediocrity, as Robin Sharma would put it. During the bus ride home, I was going to read a book, but I could not focus my mind. So instead I put on some great tunes, and started going over in my head things I was grateful for that day.

Here is my gratitude list:

  • I went shopping at lunch with a couple of my co-workers
  • I bought an awesome picture frame to display some photos of my wonderful girls at my desk
  • I had 2 extraordinary daughters waiting for me at home
  • I am eternally grateful to my husband for looking after the girls and working from home while I go into the office
  • I have a commuter bus to ride on everyday to and from work so I don’t have to drive, and it gives me about an hour each way to contemplate the meaning of life

A gratitude list is an excellent way to focus on the positive aspects of life. I’d recommend for you to write down every night 5 things you were grateful for that day. Then the next morning when you wake up, review that list. After awhile, you find that your list may grow from 5 to 10 gratitudes a day, then from 10 to 15, and so forth. Also, whenever you feel yourself sinking into despair, start to go through in your mind, or pull out a piece of paper, or your smart phone, or a napkin, and start a gratitude list. This has helped me tremendously through many challenges I have faced over the last couple of years.

Another lesson that came out of my incident is a reminder that leaders need to act with a certain level of integrity and honesty. I have recently finished reading Robin Sharma’s book, The Leader Who Had No Title. This book nails that point home. There have been many changes going on in the company I work for, and I feel as though the time is now for me to “lead without a title.” My team currently feels it is without a formal leader, and we feel we have lost faith and trust in some people in management. Especially as business leader, leaders need to exhibit some level of trust and integrity. Without that, how can a company motivate its employees to excel in excellency? Ever since I returned to work I have been trying to see the bright side of everything and have faith in our management, and encourage those around me that change is a good thing. Especially since there seems to be a lot of double talk these days, it is going to be up to those on the front lines to motivate and encourage each other to strive for excellence despite the morale in our company. It is going to be up to those who “lead without a title” to shift the company back into the Best Employer’s list.

Remember in the midst of chaos to find time to find the beauty in life. Once I got home last night, I instantly felt rejuvenated, as I got to spend time with my wonderful daughters. They are young enough that they still live in the innocence of childhood. I marvel at what achievements they earn each day. My youngest loves to explore her surroundings and my oldest is starting to talk a lot more and wanted me to help her write some letters from the alphabet while we were doing Sudoku puzzles. As Rob Thomas sings, “Our lives are made in these small hours these little wonders, these twist & turns of fate time falls away, but these small hours, these small hours still remain…”

A couple of things to remember. Act with integrity in every part of your life, in both business and in your personal life. When you feel like you are sinking, go through a gratitude list to bring your focus back on the positives in life so you may be lifted into the light. Lastly, remember this old quote, “When the times get tough, the tough get going.” You can make it through any challenges in life when you focus on the positives.