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Pain vs. Harm

Last week I got a Tdap booster vaccination. My arm is still a bit sore. I knew it was going to hurt, because the nurse who gave me the vaccination warned me, “The needle will hurt a bit, and the injection site will be sore for a few days.” I took the shot anyway, because I knew it was good for me.

But in other areas of my life, I confuse pain and harm. And I find other leaders too often make this same mistake.

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The Word of the Year

Often, we set too may goals or resolutions for the New Year. We’ll have goals for health, relationships, career, finances, etc. Having too many goals risks not getting enough done in any area. I call that the shotgun approach.

Consider instead the laser approach of having one focus to direct decisions in all life areas. This is a practice I learned from Christine Kane 5 years ago. It’s called the “Word of the Year.” Forget SMART goals. Instead, all you need is one word.

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The Gift of Time

The clock is ticking on 2016. December can be an intense month with 2017 beginning to peek over the horizon. As a leader the best gift you can give yourself, your work, and your staff is time to think and reflect. This is not an optional luxury for the rare few. It’s a ninja move that gives you a strategic advantage.

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Tough Love

America, I have deep compassion for your pain, and I simultaneously need to tell you, for your own good, at some point you need move through your grief and get back to work.

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A Big Step

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

I hate failing! I hate looking like I don’t know what I’m doing or that I wasn’t adequately prepared. I usually try to avoid that at all costs. I was reminded of this pattern just a few weeks ago during a staff meeting. During a spirited exchange of ideas, I just sat there. I had thoughts and opinions running through my head, but I was silent. In that moment, I realized 3 things about my relationship with failure.

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The Right Answer

I’ve been knocked off-center. National-level politics, police shootings of defenseless citizens, the assassinations of police, and terrorist attacks around the world have all fed my sense of chaos, discouragement, and vulnerability. I’ve become disillusioned. The world is a mess.

What is my posture towards the assassins, terrorists, self-serving politicians, and lawless police?

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Defining Moments

I looked back to the other side of the crosswalk I’d just rushed through. The rest of our group was still on the other side. Their faces reflected annoyance, impatience, and disappointment. I knew I had been pushing it to rush across the wide South Chicago intersection, and I thought others would be willing to do the same. I was a college sophomore in an urban immersion experience. In that intersection, I experienced a defining leadership moment.