Twas the Night Before Christmas, and All Through the House, Not A Creature was Stirring....WAIT! I don't know about your house, but this poem DOES NOT reflect what the home I currently am in looks like...and this post is coming to you live streaming...10:35pm on Christmas Eve!!
I LOVE this holiday for many reasons:
1: My faith starts with the birth of a Savior...so we can start there.
2: I believe in Santa.....always have and always will!! The spirit of Santa is ALIVE everywhere this season, which I will always attribute back to Reason 1....
3: The joy and faith of a child drives the world during this season! I think there is nothing more pure than the belief, the joy, and the excitement of a child. Which leads me back to TONIGHT...
You can imagine that I loved Christmas as a child....I was blessed with a family who provided me with more than I could ever imagine in love, giving, and hope which has helped to shape me today. The moment I began to have the opportunity to BE Santa for someone, my world EXPLODED with JOY! The ENERGY happening RIGHT NOW, on Christmas Eve is AWESOME and FAR FROM a silent/non stirring space! Laughter, cooking, wrapping, stories, family, joy, eating, drinking, and great merriment.....all to make the dreams of the young children in our family come true!!
Christmas teaches me so many things every year, but most importantly, the reminder that I should LIVE in the moment, CREATE opportunities for dreams to come true, and LOVE the family that God has given you like you have loved NOTHING before.
Merry Christmas to those of you who believe.....I hope your Christmas Eve is as exciting even more than ours......it always leads to memories on Christmas Day!!!!
If you aren't sure who the cute elf above is you are probably one of three things: The Kidless, Grandkidless, or The Grinch. The Elf on the Shelf is a 2004 book which brings to life the story of a scout elf who Santa sends to figure out who has been naughty or nice. Traditionally, the Elf heads to Santa's workshop every night to report, and then comes back to a new location in your home (input Pinterest/Facebook creativity to how you might stage your Elf.....hilarity can ensue....sometimes not appropriate for children)
The elf in our house, who arrived last Christmas, is named Sparkly Snowflake. SS (as she signs her letters) has of course become a part of our everyday living since December 1, when she arrived from the North Pole. As I am always thinking about leadership, I have put my head around how SS has transformed our home and how I might be able to access some of the positives (and avoid the negatives) from her time with us.
POSITIVE ANTICIPATION CAN CHANGE BEHAVIOR
I have been amazed at how it has transformed our morning routines. My 7 year old, who used to enjoy every bit of 30 minutes to get ready in the morning, CANNOT WAIT to get downstairs to find what SS is up to. She does all that needs to be done in 7 minutes or less!! The 4 year old follows suit (although with less vigor) and the joy and excitement has been elevated with SS as a part of our family!
COMMITMENT BREEDS ALIGNED ACCOUNTABILITY
As parents and facilitators of this tradition, we have made a commitment to each other to remind each other to MOVE THAT ELF!! This often times happens as we groggily go to bed, or better yet when one of us wakes up in a cold sweat realizing that we both forgot. When neither of those happen, it is essential to ensure aligned communication with the story we improvise to the kids about why SS didn't move (she was still hungry, she was tired, she enjoyed that spot so much she wanted to go back to it).
EXTERNAL MOTIVATORS ONLY WORK FOR A SHORT TIME.
First, this external motivator DOES NOT determine naughty or nice in our home. I think that would be the downfall if we used her to try and motivate our kids to get on the "nice" list. This too will wear off. Don't bet the bank on it!
THERE IS A CHILD IN ALL OF US
The month before Christmas in a home of children aged 7, 4, and 1 can be stressful, can be tenuous, but should really be FUN! I have to admit, I was not convinced this Elf was a good idea, but watching the joy with my girls, listening to the 2nd grader talk to her friends about it, and laughing with my wife about it has indeed brought more joy than stress to our home. It is a great reminder that this season is about the child in all of us!!
What is going on in our political leadership landscape?? I am not so naive to realize that politicians lie, cheat, and manipulate. It is part of their business. What I feel I am witnessing, are selfish individuals seeking power while losing the opportunity to lead.
I believe it is based on their inability to see, create, and use more than the primary colors.
Quick primary school review. To see color you need light. When light shines on an object, it either reflects or absorbs. We see the light reflected. We can see color between the wavelengths of Red and Violet. I learned them as ROYGBV:
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Violet.
Some of you might have learned the colors of the rainbow. Crayola added Brown and Black to the first box of crayons in 1903 to give us the colors you see below:
(thanks to Crayola for these graphics as well).
The current American candidate pool seems to think these are ALL the colors there are in the world. Some only talk about RED while others live on the other side of the spectrum and only talk about VIOLET. They can't even compromise WITHIN the spectrum to try and use GREEN or YELLOW. Their canvases are so boring, so simple, and so hyper focused on their own agenda. They have blinders on, limiting them to see the unbelievable and beautiful opportunity of blending, shading, and collaboration. That behavior limits the ability to see POSSIBILITY and to VALUE OPINION. That behavior builds an ineffective unwillingness to collaborate, compromise, and contribute to a conversation. I REFUSE to call that behavior leadership.
Let's take a look at what leaders can achieve when they begin investing in blending, mixing, collaborating and dreaming.
These are all GREEN, each one still part of the family, but having its own identity, its own purpose, its own definition. GREEN needed the other colors to help make the beauty in each.
We need each other to make beauty and create new.
Here are what you can begin to create with RED. The change in hue allows for depth, warmth, and weight. Imagine a sunset or sunrise without these colors. Without the collaboration of others, we never are able to get to the deeper meaning and understanding of what RED really has to offer.
We need each other to get deeper into the meaning.
Even black has shades and combinations that produce so many options for success. Gray, to me, is the epitome of the fusion between all colors and the absence of color. Lying in the center of all and none, produces a place to grow from and to start the canvas and build upon. We need each other to find the middle and understand if we have all light or all dark, we actually have nothing.
Finally, the mosaic here depicts an excerpt of the unbelievable amount of combinations that we all can have....if we are willing. The TRUE beauty is we can never actually make a matrix of ALL of the possibilities. There are colors out there WAITING to be mixed and blended with different colors so that a NEW color is able to be added to the palette of leadership.
Leaders blinded by a light of fear, of timidity, of bias, of anger, of resentment, of revenge, of hate, of ego, and by a light of limited hope do not allow themselves to see the possibility of the future. I want leaders who value ALL colors, can see the possibilities, and understand that their color CAN'T always be the focus of every painting. We need to continue to demand a leader for our local, state, and national leadership positions who will take the blinders off, bring strength through selfless leadership, and be willing to mix the colors to create a better country and world. If we don't, we will all live in a limited, mediocre version of what we could experience. Let us all apply what artists have been sharing with us forever, and realize there are so many leadership colors to use to move toward success!
Cmon....time to ADMIT IT!! You too are getting excited for Thursday!! I cannot call myself a fanatic for Star Wars (I lived with one for a LONG TIME), but to say I feel 13 and giddy might be an understatement!! I couldn't let this week go by without learning a little from Star Wars...and especially from one of the greatest TEACHERS of ALL TIME....
YODA!! (Wise he is...mmmmm)
I have ALWAYS loved this scene. The end is easy...but it's the words that Yoda offers to Luke prior to the punchline that I think tell the real leadership story for most of us:
"Always with you in cannot be done..."
As an educator, this clip always gives me hope...if YODA had troubled students (always the brightest and most talented), then certainly my struggles are validated!!
ATTITUDE defines success...not ability. We, as leaders, HAVE to be patient enough to TEACH our proteges they CAN. CANNOT is a vocabulary word erased from the minds and mouths of the successful.
"Hear you nothing that I say...."
The frustration of communication. We have to TEACH our padawan learners WHAT to LISTEN to. There is so much NOISE that affects the work of our people. The noise gets in the way of what we NEED them to LISTEN to. If we can work to eliminate the DISTRACTIONS from their lives, they will have a chance to hear what we have to say!
"You must UNLEARN what you have LEARNED..."
New or veteran, young or old. If you are in leadership, you have UNLEARNED much already: bad habits, fear, gossip, anger, jealousy. What we learned in our previous experience, just may not be right for this experience. Realities need to be shifted. There is a better, more effective way. Yoda and his 900 years of wisdom and experience couldn't MAKE Luke learn. Motivation must come from within and although we can't motivate, we can TEACH our team members how to motivate themselves through confidence, practice, and creative problem solving.
"Do or Do Not...There is No Try..."
The Ultimatum. Try should be an opportunity for success. So often it is an excuse for failure. I TRIED to do something actually means I FAILED to do something.
If it CANNOT be DONE, it WILL NOT be done.
I Tried. I Can't. I Do Not. I WILL. I CAN. I DO!
The choice is yours as you prepare to
TEACH an ATTITUDE to LISTEN and LEARN for SUCCESS!
Caring People... Caring...for People Caring. I think this is the ultimate definition of COMMUNITY. Family, work, friends, neighborhoods, towns, cities....a strong community is one built with caring people...taking care... of people who care.
We have all been in bad communities. Think of one.....one that is broken, unsuccessful, unmotivated, unreliable, unfocused. You will find selfish people...selfishly thinking...about selfish things...most of the time about themselves and their ideas. Calling it a community is a misnomer. SELFUNITY is a much more accurate name of this organization.
Community is built, not conceived. Community is developed, through listening, learning, loving, and truly caring about the opinions and dreams of those around you. Community makes sure that dissenting opinions are valued and space is created for all ideas to grow and flourish. Community supports the dreams of others. Community engages to help make those dreams better, in turn making your dreams better too.
Community doesn't have time, it makes time. Community collaborates. Community is philanthropic. Community believes. Community builds. Community helps. Community cares. Community knows that ANYONE can create and find success within the structure it provides. Community knows success.
Remove the things that build a SELFUNITY in your organization, and begin CARING about the CARES of your people. When you do, you will unleash the full power of COMMUNITY!
Thanks for stopping by. These are my musings on a number of leadership thoughts. It is my joy to expound upon my experiences and values.