Tag Archives: lindsey

The Solution to #SochiProblems

I was rolling in laughter as my daughter read me some of the tweets chronicled under #SochiProblems during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Olympics. Armed with Twitter feeds and lightning-fast zingers, reporters have ravaged the city’s preparation for the Olympics more cruelly than the packs of stray dogs still (according to Twitter) wandering the streets.

Here’s another funny hashtag for you: #snowpocalypse2014. If you didn’t hear, Atlanta was recently hit with an unexpected snowstorm that paralyzed interstate traffic and trapped many on the roads for hours. Just like #SochiProblems, frustrated Atlantans took to the Twitterverse and blasted Governor Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed for lack of preparation. But that is just half of the story.

At the same time, other Atlantans (including my son Logan) were packing supplies, food, and extra gas into their 4-wheel drives to come to the aid of many folks who had been stranded for hours.

After hearing about my son’s actions my pride alone probably could have thawed I-75, especially when I thought about what a prime example he and many other local heroes are of Leadership Redefined. You see…

Leaders don’t waste energy complaining, but focus their efforts on finding solutions.

Did I mention that Logan had just sat in 5 hours of traffic before arriving home himself?

Whether you are leading an organization with complexities like the Winter Olympics, or just looking to make it home in one piece, I hope that we can remember in the face of adversity or inconvenience to take a moment to laugh, hashtag our own one-liners and then help ourselves and others.

And while we’re at it, if you can find me any tweets about #SochiSolutions or #SnowpocalypseHeroes, please send them my way.

Click here to order a copy(ies) of Dave’s new book Leadership Redefined.

The only resolution you should make this year

The presents have been unwrapped, the turkey’s been devoured, the crazy relatives have been pushed out the door, and we are all sick and tired of eggnog and Christmas music. It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. While losing weight, hitting your sales goals, or quitting smoking are great goals for next year, I’d like to challenge you to make only one resolution in 2014—and unlike the resolutions mentioned earlier, this one has the potential to transform every aspect of your life—your career, your relationships, your dreams and your health. Are you ready for it??

This year, resolve to keep the main thing the main thing.

Whatever the main thing is for you—a career goal, a desire to invest in certain relationships, or a dream you’re chasing—keeping the main thing the main thing will minimize your distractions and focus your actions with the precision of a laser pointer.

For example, if my “main thing” is to be the best husband and father that I can be, I will be working hard to be a great provider for my family—but I’ll also be curbing my late nights at the office so that I can take my wife on a date or catch a movie with one of the kids. I will learn that talking to my daughter about her day might be more exciting than whatever’s being covered on SportsCenter, or that walking our two energetic dogs with my wife transforms a mundane task into an opportunity to spend time with her. Wanting to live a long, full life with my family motivates me to eat a little better and move a little more. It makes me a better listener, a more productive employee, and a more generous giver.

So as you think about your own resolutions, I hope you identify your main thing, and perhaps a few action steps that you can take in order to keep the main thing the main thing.  May your 2014 be an exciting, successful year—but most of all, may it be the year when you begin to make progress on purpose.

Focus on the Right Things

On August 13, 2004, US Olympic athlete, Matthew Emmons won a gold medal in Rifle shooting in the 2004 Summer Olympic games in Athens and he was set to win his second gold medal of the games in another event. He had a commanding lead as the competition came to an end and was hoping to bury the field with a bull’s eye on his final shot.

He concentrated, exhaled, and squeezed the shot off…PERFECTION!  But there was something wrong…Matt hit the bull’s eye, all right, but it was on the wrong target! His focus had been on the wrong thing.  That error dropped him from standing atop the podium at the medal ceremony to eighth place and it cost him the gold medal.

While news of his mistake raced through the Olympic Village, many could not believe Emmons had done something like that. I probably would have gotten caught up in some “Emmons Joking” of my own if I had been there…but then again, I have been there…and I have missed targets of my own.

Haven’t you?

Like the time I lost my temper and blasted one of my direct reports in front of others…that is not “hitting the target” of how I want to be as a leader.  Or how about the time I was so focused on completing a project at work that I completely missed my daughter’s championship soccer game. Talk about missing the target?!  And you know what, I can’t even tell you today what I was working on that was so important back then…I have no recollection of it. But I still remember missing her game.

There are times when we can get “tunnel vision” and become so focused on a target that we lose sight of the target.

Take a moment and reflect on what is the target for today…stay focused on the right thing.

Exhibit an Attitude of Optimistic Confidence

This is part 11 of a 12 part series that I call the 12 X’s of Leadership.

Leaders see themselves succeeding. They have the ability to look into the future and literally see themselves obtaining their goal. Hitting their target.

Positive visualization is a crucial element in becoming a great leader and it is a powerful tool to help you accomplish any goal you set.

I saw this dramatically played out as my daughter Lindsey prepared for her first Equestrian event as a “show jumper” many years ago. In a nut shell, for me, show jumping was watching my little wisp of a daughter, 10 years old, climb up on the back of a 700 pound wild animal she called Yoo Hoo and ride around in an arena surrounded by hundreds of people and leap over small buildings. (Ok, that’s what it looked like to me anyway.) It scared me.

We got Lindsey an amazing trainer to help her learn how to compete in this sport (honestly, all I knew about horses was which end the food went in and which end it came out and to stay away from both ends).

I was more than a little worried when “my baby” climbed up upon this 700 lb “wild beast”. They trained for months with Lindsey progressing rapidly in her learning. She was a natural.

Then one day her trainer, Jason, proclaimed her ready to compete and signed her up for a huge show. We had one week to get ready. Jason informed us that the week before a show was critical and that he wanted to work with Lindsey every afternoon with her completely dressed in her “competition outfit”.

We arrived for the first pre-competition practice and Yoo Hoo was nowhere to be seen. Jason said Yoo Hoo was ready but Lindsey was not. He proceeded to sit her on top of the fence that surrounded the riding area at the stable and they rode the course over and over in Lindsey’s mind.

Jason taught her that she had to “see” herself succeeding, that she had to visualize herself flawlessly running the course: elbows in, thumbs up, heels down, change leads, lean into the jump. Time and time again they ran the course in Lindsey’s head. She knew it. She saw herself conquering it. She exhibited an attitude of optimistic confidence

The following Saturday I watched my girl win her first blue ribbon and learn a lifelong lesson: Rather than focus on the obstacles in the course of life, focus on getting over them, beating them, and achieving your goal.

Move It!

Dave & Lindsey - ING Georgia Half MarathonThis past weekend I was in downtown Atlanta for the ING Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon. I’d love to tell you I was there competing in the race but I wasn’t.  Honestly I’d rather lance a boil than run a half marathon.

But my daughter had been training and this was to be her first one…so naturally I was there to cheer her on.  There were over 16,000 runners partaking in the morning’s activities with 14,000 in the half marathon and another 2500 sickos running in the full marathon.

What I saw surprised me…my expectations were that I would see a bunch of skinny malnourished people looking like they hadn’t eaten a good meal in a month.  But that wasn’t the case at all.  Ok – honestly there were a bunch of people with bodies resembling rake handles around but I also found a sea of humanity in all shapes and sizes.  And get this – they were all happy!

It’s true! All of them smiling, high-fiving, slapping each other on the back!  Now keep in mind that it is 6:00am! And it is about to rain!

“What is wrong with these people” I said to myself.  And then it occurred to me. They are out here “moving it”. Exercising.

It doesn’t take very much investigative digging to find the benefits of exercising. You see it on the list of ways to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, maintain good health, build self –esteem, increase immunity, lose weight, lower anxiety, improve sleep, inrease alertness and mental sharpness…the list goes on and on!

All these people had tapped into one of the greatest secrets around. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.  But the key is, no matter what your body type – move it.  You deserve the benefits!