One thing that I have come to realize as I have looked over these past 7 months is that before Covid-19, my life was incredibly full. It was full of good intentions and a lot of meetings that didn’t seem to be for any other reason than to make me feel important. I came to realize that I needed to say “no” to opportunities, meetings and activities of all kinds. On the surface there was nothing wrong with what I was doing, but as I began evaluating my life, I saw that the people and places I was needing to invest my time in were getting overlooked and pushed aside.
As I began to say “no” and finish up commitments, I started to have more life and joy again. I realized that I didn’t need to run myself ragged so that I could hopefully eventually “do what I want in the future”. I began to understand that I needed to focus on the now and be present for those in my life.
It’s been a paradigm shifting 7 month journey, but it has been one that was needed. I believe that what would have taken me 2-3 years to learn and put into practice was sped up because I was faced with hard truths and made the needed changes. I would never wish a pandemic on anyone or any community, but I am choosing to make the most of this situation. I am choosing to slow down and dig into where I have been planted. I have been focusing more on my family, coworkers, and neighbors, and as I have done this it has been life giving.
In focusing on who is next to me and the opportunities I have today, I have been able to build stronger relationships and get opportunities that always seemed to elude me in the past. I have learned that to have an impact on the community you are a part of, it is about more than voting, talking or marching, but taking consistent action over time. I am far from perfect and don’t have many answers, but one thing I do know is that when we slow down and take root where we are, we start to have the impact we really long for. My life… it’s pretty ordinary, and it’s just the way I want it.
The other day I was talking to a friend when he called me a networking machine. This was after I mentioned to him that I was grabbing ice cream with a friend at work who was retiring after 43 years of working at the good ol’ Tip Top Poultry. My initial response and the one that is screaming in my brain as I am thinking about this conversation is “I love people.”
I can’t help it, I have an insatiable urge to connect with others and share a little bit in their story. I want to get to know them for who they are and to see how we can connect.
Over the years I have learned how to dial down the intensity with how I passionately pursue people. (Ahhh the alliteration is abundant.) It has been tough, but dialing down the intensity has served me. I have come to realize that not everyone is as social, and people may want different types of relationships for us then I may be thinking. All of this is ok, it just allows me to use a little emotional intelligence as I get to know others.
I mention all of this because I want to challenge you to get out there and connect with others. I know that may not be your thing, but life is infinitely better together. Connect with others how best works for you. You have amazing insights and experiences to offer others and you are not done growing yourself. Please, do us all a favor and love on people how best works for you because I can promise yo u one thing if you actually do just that, this world will be a better place as you connect with others and show them that community is all around.
A couple of weeks ago on June 6th, 2019 a dream was accomplished. Even though to the handful of folks who heard about the event or attended may have thought it appeared in happen within the matter of a month, it took over two years to come about. During this two year period I failed multiple times, frustrated a few people, made a handful of amazing relationships, and learned a ton along the way. Part of me hates that it took over two years to have this event come to fruition, and the other part of me wouldn’t have it any other way.
The real question is WHY on God’s green earth should you or anyone else stick with something for two years or more? I believe that can be best explained from what I learned over this time period.
The first thing I learned is that to accomplish anything of impact you have to surround yourself with an amazing community. This event all started with someone who has become one of my best friends. This man is a champion and crazily enough has been supportive of all my harebrained ideas. Bo Cordell is a huge reason why this event even happened. It was because of our monthly coffees that we started having over 3 years ago that an idea, to help the logistics and supply chain community, turned into this event . A little over a year and a half ago we tried to start this community, but our relationships, time and capacity we had to offer were not enough. Even though we had a little success in the beginning, the momentum, support and knowledge wasn’t there to keep it going full steam.
The second thing I learned is that you have to be mindful that you are not sprinting past your family and friends. There were a handful of times when I could have pulled this off earlier, but I would have had no one around me to celebrate with. I remember countless conversations and nights having tough and frustrating conversations with my wife. I was leaving hear and my kids in the wake of my dreams and ambitions and that only would have ended in frustration and pain. I am so thankful that if I listened to hear and took a moment of rest.
The third thing I learned was that to accomplish anything of impact or importance it is all about taking small steps. From the very beginning I wanted to be surrounded by a huge community that made the other good ol’ boy clubs look outdated and weak, make an impact in legislation around logistics and supply chain, and have a large and well attended event. All of these things are great, but to do them all at once and right away is ridiculous. The bigness of the idea was too much for us to handle, and over time it was whittled down to the carrier community event that happened on the 6th. It’s this last idea of small steps that actually saved this ambition from falling away for another two years.
Why stick with something for two years… because you have no idea of the amazing places it will take you, the lessons you will learn, and the adventures you will have along the way. Without this experience I wouldn’t have realized those three lessons:
To accomplish anything of impact it takes surrounding yourself with community.
Don’t sprint past your family and friends towards your goal. You don’t want to accomplish anything and realize you are at the end all alone.
Don’t go for broke. Instead, start walking and figure out the next small step that will be a great foundation for the next step and the one after that.
Valentines Day… it’s just another corporate holiday that marketers have taken over so that men and woman can be forced into passionless nights of pressure filled “romance” and spend way to much money on crap you don’t need.Can I get an amen.
Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe anything I just wrote.If you don’t celebrate valentines day with your significant other, that is totally up to you, but as for me, I see this day as a brilliant reminder to love and pursue that special someone.I know what your thinking, “Paul, I pursue him / her every day,” And to that I call bull shit.Lets not kid ourselves, thats just not true.For most of the folks who would agree with the above paragraph, I am willing to bet that your significant other only feels pursued three to four days out of the year: Your anniversary, their birthday, Christmas, and maybe one other day thrown in there for good measure.
Valentines day is a gift, and it doesn’t have to cost you much, or any, money depending on what you actually do.This is a day that is forced into our society for sure, but it is one that I take as a blessing because it gives me an amazing excuse to direct my attention not only to my wife, but my kids as well.
I want my kids to know how to pursue their love.I want my son to know how to woo a woman and I want my daughter to know what it is like to be wooed. I want to build up in her this understanding that if a man doesn’t woo her, he is not worth her time.She is a beauty to be taken on an adventure, not just to be looked at and potentially admired.By the time my kids are really ready to date, I want to have given them an amazing example for them to follow.
So to all those haters out there… take a second look at this potentially under-marketed holiday full of sugar, delicious meals, and lots of trees sacrificing their lives so you can express your love via a card.Take a second look and realize the opportunity you have been given.
Happy Valentines Day
P.S. Let me know what exciting plans you have for your love.
It is extremely hard to just fall into positions of leadership and have influence over many people.When we strive for positions that have influence over many, it adds stress and pressure to our lives that isn’t needed.One of the things I learned in 2018 was to not focus on how many I am leading, but to focus on those that I get to work with.
If we want to start getting opportunities to lead more and help others, we need to fill the gap.We can fill the gap in two areas: in our companies culture, and with shorthanded projects.
Filling the gap in culture.There is almost always going to be a gap from where the company currently is, and where it want’s to be as it relates to culture and environment.If you want to be a help and influence others, start living out the culture that the company aspires to.If it is one of excitement, then set the temperature of the building, figuratively speaking, by being the person who comes in ready to crush the day.If it is a place of encouragement and help, be the one that is always looking for the good in others and comment on it when you see it.Basically, be one of the catalysts that gets your company closer to the culture it desires.
Filling the gap in projects.I don’t care where you work or where you go in life, there is always a need for a volunteer or a part-time position.This world is never lacking with areas that we can help and add value.If you want to grow in your leadership, start offering your skills and expertise to your company or to local not-for-profit organizations or charities.This not only allows you to hone your skills, but it allows you to build relationships, which is the most important, and it sets you up for future success.
If you really want to lead, fill the gap.In fact, where is one place you can fill the gap today and how will you do it?