Monday, August 20, 2012

Who Is Your Jurgen Klinsmann?

US National Team Coach Jurgen Klinsmann believed in his team like no one else and thus they believed

Last Wednesday, without much fanfare, the US Men's National Team made history.

This young team became only the 9th team in the 46 year history of the stadium to post a win against the Mexican National team following powerhouses like Italy, Spain and Brazil. With it's notorious noise and high altitude conditions - Estadio Azteca is the ultimate home field advantage. It did not go without note in all the press leading up to the "friendly" match between CONCACAF's fiercest rivals. Every mention of the game was punctuated with the fact that the Americans had never beat Mexico in this stadium - coming into the match last week with an abysmal record of 0-23-1.

Until now.

What was the difference?

For me it was a simple concept of faith. Specifically, Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's faith in his team. defines faith as this:

          1. confidence or trust in a person or thing
          2. belief that is not based on proof

I watched closely as every reporter brought up the fact that the US Men's Team had never won a match in Azteca. Klinsmann never flinched in his faith in his team's ability to ignore that fact and play their best with the intention of coming away from that match with the result of a W. In one of the final interviews, Klinsmann did not mince words when he stated that he believed his team could beat Mexico in Estadio Azteca.

I've been a part of the US Soccer family since the early 90s when I started my career there in PR/marketing. Never before have I heard a US coach speak so convincingly of his faith in the team to do something. He demonstrated such solid belief that it became impossible for any other result from that team, that night. I believe that Jurgen actually believed in the team more than they believed in themselves going in and then they rose to the occasion to make history.

So I ask... who is your Jurgen Klinsmann?

Who in your life sees what could be and pushes you towards it?

Who do you know has the courage of conviction to speak big things on your life?

Who is that person in your life that believes in you, perhaps even more than you believe in yourself?

I am blessed, I have a handful of these folks in my stable of great people. They are critical to my success personally and professionally.

There is a woman who sees me as the grand wife I could be and constantly pushes me towards that. Or there is the lifelong friend who sees my greatness as a mom and encourages it. Then there is the "great business mind" friend and confidant who sees my entrepreneurial potential and does not allow me to default in fear.  Each one pushes me beyond where I am today. Each sees a few steps ahead of my current circumstance and gives me the "kick" I need to get there. Sometimes, I struggle to see beyond where I am at the moment but I am so glad I have people around me who see it before I do.

I implore you to seek out the "Jurgen Klinsmanns" in your life. They can be close friends or even loose connections. I'm thinking of the college friend on Facebook who micro-mentored me to writing my first book earlier this year. He saw that I could do it even before I did and in an effort to not let him down - I did it. I finished my first book and will be publishing it in a few weeks.

We all need people in our lives to push us to places we'd never go on our own. We need people to state that they believe in us even when there is no "proof" of what they believe. Lots of times, these folks are in our lives already but we don't recognize or open ourselves up to them. I challenge you to do it today.

Who knows the history you will make when you do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rules of Engagement For Decision 2012

I will do better this political season
13 weeks. 91 days. Lots of hours, minutes and seconds until Election Day 2012.

Now that the "official" teams are set, it is really on.

You can feel it in the air. 

But I am taking a pledge this election season and I am hoping many join me...

I pledge to do the following starting now until Election night 2012:

1.  Respect people voting for folks I'm not voting for.
2.  Ignore political propaganda that name calls.
3.  Engage in discussions civilly or not at all.

In today's blasting/broadcasting/posting your every move, these three actions can prove tricky but I will stick to them. Here's a bit more detail on how I will do that.

Respect people voting for folks I'm not voting for

You've all felt it. That moment when Facebook lets you know that someone you like a lot has "liked" a page you'd never look at. It stings. C'mon admit it. What's the first thing that goes through your mind?

"I thought I knew FILL-IN-THE-BLANK"

Well I'm here to say that you do know FILL-IN-THE-BLANK, you just have a different view on how to achieve what we all want in our country. It's not the end of the world or your friendship. In the last three days, I've seen that many times and with each sting - I say out loud, it's OK. Now I know what I will see in the coming weeks on their page and I have the option to keep it there and get irritated everytime I see it or I can hide them for the next 90 days.

I will most definitely not be going on their wall to post my views. And I expect the same courtesy from them.

Ignore political propaganda that name calls

This will be, by far, the hardest of all the actions but I will stick by it. I will read carefully each article and  will be ultra selective on which ones I post or spread.

In my humble opinion, we should do away with the labels "Conservative" or "Liberal." Labels and absolutes are made for inanimate objects, not people. People have opinions that change over time and evolve. Look at most politicians - it's really impossible to be completely one side or the other.

So this season, you won't find any negative political ads on my wall or in my stream. I plan to actively seek information sources that stick to the positives of the candidate that I am supporting versus tearing down the candidate I am not. I will change the channel if an ad comes on and goes immediately dark - we all know what those ads look like. And I am opting out this year.

Engage in discussions civilly or not at all.

Perhaps the easiest of the three for me. I have already stated that I will not "troll" pages/blogs/comment strings of folks I know think differently looking for opportunities to pounce them with my "truths."

I will also not engage people who do that to me or my strings. I will politely ignore any goadings to argue or "defend" my candidate. I understand the issues and am not undecided so there is no need for me to "explore" or feel the urge to "educate" others.

When asked, I may choose explain my position without name calling or anger. I will use many smiley faces in text over the next few months. I will also look for opportunities have face-to-face discussions versus cyber ones. It is easier to exercise self control when a person in the flesh is standing in front of you versus a high resolution screen. Further, I will just do the polite thing and not talk politics at all. If I hear a conversation brewing near me that is going in a direction I don't want to go, I'll simply walk the other way and get another snack, remembering again that I don't HAVE to share my views.

That's what I'm planning to do the next few months -

Who's with me?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How Often Do You Fill Your Leadership Cup?

Anyone who leads anything has a leadership cup. Be it your family, your team at work, the small group at your church or the group of gals you coffee with each morning at the coffee house - you lead in some way, shape or form.

From a pure logic standpoint, your capacity to lead is likened to a cup. You can only pour out what you have inside. Once the cup is empty, it's pretty tough to keep going, effectively.

Today's question is designed to challenge you to fill your cup. For me it is a no brainer. And it's that time of year again.

Every August since 2006, I refill my leadership cup at the annual Global Leadership Summit put on by the Willowcreek Association. It is two full days packed with lots of teachings, interactions and activities designed to strengthen me as a leader. I cannot imagine my year without it. It is not the only leadership cup fill I get every year but it is the most significant. It is a signal to all around me that my personal development is a priority. No calls, no meetings, very little email interaction - 100% focus on growing my leadership capabilities. GLS 2012 is a special year as it marks the first year I'm attending the GLS as my own boss.

It was at my third GLS that the possibility of owning my own business even became a major thought. I've said many times and I highlight it again in my upcoming book, I am an unlikely entrepreneur from a long history of family members who are good at working for others. However, my commitment to growing and filling my leadership cup every year in an intense and intentional way led me to my current place. In between summits, I read voraciously - blogs, books, articles to help me grow. I also speak at and attend several other conferences. I interact regularly with other committed growing leaders. Lots of tactics and lots of time invested in filling my leadership cup.

I find that keeping my cup full increases my capacity to extend myself to those I lead. I cannot function well as a leader without my cup full.  Everyone is different. For me, full = ready. Ready to lead. Ready to jump on opportunities. Ready to be more compassionate to those around me. Ready to do what I was designed to do - revolutionize relationships on planet Earth.

What about you?

How often do you fill your leadership cup?

What are your tactics for keeping it full?