Category: Solution-Focused Leadership

Ambition

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher

Cultivating Healthy Ambition

Ambition is an essential element to an organization and individual. Ambition begins with understanding the desires, aspirations, and goals you have for yourself and your team. What exactly are your desired outcomes for yourself and those of your team?

Knowing and understanding how far to reach is key to harnessing healthy ambition. Setting goals that require just the right level of difficulty push and struggle helps ensure to reach beyond your current abilities. Suppose the challenge is too great; a risk of giving up or becoming discouraged when target goals fall short happens. If the challenge isn’t significant enough, a risk of disconnecting, not being engaged, and never reaching the levels of total performance is accomplished.

I worked with a young ambitious leader who was very talented. His desire to accomplish was greater than the skill levels of himself and his team. They pushed full steam ahead, but lacked the ability to sustain all of the components of their plans. Piles of data was collected, but being able to utilize it wisely with a targeted purpose was missing. They could accomplish some small wins, but the frustration levels grew with trying to maintain the action plans. Creating the action plans was difficult to establish because the data seemed to become outdated by the time they reviewed it together. It became overwhelming with the stacks of data collected.

There is more to accomplish than performance with ambition. We need to think about growth, achievement, sustainable and solution-focused ambitions. Each of these requires more in-depth conversations we can continue in future blog posts. We need a balance for ambition to find the formula for success. In the meantime, ponder these questions with your purpose of performance:

Questions for Focus

  • What are our current performance goals?
  • What goals can you reach with your efforts?
  • What goals can you help guide your team in accomplishing?
  • How can the efforts of “all” work together to accomplish the goals?
  • Do the goals need to be prioritized?
  • Have you assigned timelines, responsibilities, tasks, or other ways to accomplish them?
  • What do I wish was different today?
  • What frustrates me the most?
  • Have I asked the team any of these questions?
  • Do I listen to the team, data and information?

When we work only on performance ambition, our teams may look to us in different ways. If our goals seem unattainable, they will look at us as being “unrealistic.” Maybe you have set too many or too high of goals. The team believes you are setting them up for failure.

What if you do not take any risks and have too few of goals? The team thinks you do not believe in them, you are not a risk-taker and you have low expectations.

We do not want to lose our sense of purpose. Our team must believe in the goals, values, and beliefs we establish. It is essential to keep a check on the level of ambition we have and to maintain high sustainable energy to develop the accomplishments we want to achieve.

Hook, line and sinker

Do not spread false reports. Exodus 23:1

The coach spots a little boy in the stands with a glove waiting to catch a baseball. The coach decides he will toss a ball to the little boy. Then suddenly, a man swoops in and catches the ball. Cameras snap the picture; video cameras record the moment, and the story goes viral.

Everyone could not believe what this man did to get this ball. He took a baseball meant for a little ball for himself. The pictures and video were shared with comments about this man. How could he take this ball away from this little boy?

As these video clips were shared, no one ever thought to ensure all the information was factual. Everyone could see he jumped in front of the boy and caught the ball. Case closed!

Except viewers watching the clip and the live scene didn’t know the whole story. Earlier in the game, the man had helped the young boy snag a foul ball. They agreed to share any additional balls that would come their way. Unfortunately for the man, it took twenty-four hours before the actual story emerged. The media mob and citizens had already done their damage, demonizing an innocent man.

The world we live in today deals with fragments of information and twists it to meet the narrative they try to push. Facts seem to be few and far between as you try to listen to any media source. The baseball story is factual from 2018 a Chicago Cubs game. This is one example of thousands; I am sure of people who have been judged with fragments of information.

Hook, line, and sinker, we take fragments of information as the whole truth. The evidence is clear before us daily. We must do everything possible to confirm the truth before leveling accusations and going along with the beliefs. We need complete facts making sure not to participate in lies. We should be cautious whenever passions ignite and waves of judgment swell. We want to safeguard ourselves from “following the crowd in doing wrong” In this “gotcha” “cancel culture” time, we see more and more divisions than unity.

Please take the time to look at the bait on the “hook.” Is it fragments or complete? Use the “line” to trace the sources of the story and research the evidence. Is this a “sinker” to bring down someone or everyone? Don’t just swallow it hook, line and sinker! We have ways to help us rise above together, to overcome any hardships, and to float to the top! Be the solution daily in an ocean full of sinkers! Rise up!

Not me, not today, maybe tomorrow

Have you ever questioned if you should, could, or would? Is there a voice that tells you not today, maybe tomorrow, but when it becomes tomorrow, you start over?

If this sounds like you, you are not alone! How do you overcome this negative talk? One day, each moment and every second of the day by saying: I can, I will, I am going to work each day to get closer to my goals and to make a positive impact. We do not have to invent the next big device, create the best masterpiece or become famous for a great speech. It is in the day to day actions we take to improve the lives of those around us and others in the world we share.

It seems sometimes we place a great deal of pressure on ourselves to measure our accomplishments, wealth, social media “likes,” “followers,” or “shares.” We also look at what we have or don’t have.

If we do this as adults, think about the pressure children experience with all of the sources they have to ensure they get the approval rating they seek. When does the negative talk start?

How can we dial down these sources of frustration? What are other sources? These sources contribute to our negative self-talk. What can leaders do to increase positive sources of impact on lives daily?

  • Know the individuals who work with you. Greet them by name each day.
  • When an individual is absent and they return say, “I am glad to see you today; we missed you.” If you know why they were gone, be careful not to make a public statement as they may not want others to know.
  • Provide positive praise when achieved, do not fake anything.
  • Ask how you can help.

It is not easy to escape situations that can impact our lives negatively, but with knowledge of how to manage these situations, we can prevent the impact on our lives. We need to start teaching these strategies early in life as we know technology is introduced to our children at an early age and as the sources increase, the possibility of negatives can occur.

It is you, yes today and tomorrow, to help yourself and others bring positives each day to drown out the negatives!

Butterflies mean more

The beauty of nature is impressive to me, and I enjoy it all the time we can appreciate it all. We just had the opportunity to spend nine days with my sister-in-law and her husband in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Each day from our balcony, we saw dolphins jumping, swimming, and diving. In addition, we saw groups of stingrays, pelicans, seagulls, and cranes. Then one evening, we found a baby bat. On our fishing trip, we saw a sea turtle, more dolphins and moon jellyfish, so many little lizards and crabs in the sand. The funniest thing was we had butterflies everywhere we went.

I captured this picture while we were enjoying an outside snack break at a beautiful little cafe’.

We went to dinner and asked a young lady to take our photo. She was so lovely and thoughtful. She shared with us she traveled here often for a vacation. She asked if we liked to read? Everyone looked at me. “Yes, I love it!”

She asked, “Do you know the author Andy Andrews? He is my favorite. He lives somewhere here in Orange Beach.”

I remember reading some of his work, and it hit me, The Butterfly Effect! I enjoyed this book. It is a quick read with a significant impact.

In 1963, Edward Lorenz made a presentation to the New York Academy of Sciences and was literally laughed out of the room. His theory, called the butterfly effect, stated that a butterfly could flap its wings and set air molecules in motion that, in turn, would move other air molecules—which would then move additional air molecules—even- tually becoming able to influence weather patterns on the other side of the planet. “Butterfly effect” theory says that one small change can influence a big change later. The theory leads you to believe we are all connected, and anything is possible.

As we ended the day, my brother-in-law said it was supposed to happen that we met this young lady to remind me about the book. To remember everything we do matters and makes a difference.

How true it is to know everything we do matters! Even if the “Butterfly Effect” can or cannot be scientifically proven, we do know by our choices and actions, change happens. We can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

What can you do today, tomorrow, or the next to have an effect on the lives of others?

Have you ever……

When you are trying to entertain during a long drive on vacation, when there is not a lot to see, you play games. Often we play: I spy with my little eye, something green. Then others take turns guessing what you see.

It is fun to learn about others when you play games. So asking the question, “Have you ever?” So my question today is, have you ever seen a sunrise like this? If you have, where did you see it? This is Gulf Shores, Alabama.

September 2021

Have you ever…….what? We had to travel today to leave our sunsets behind, but we will be home in time to see the sunset at home.

What is your Intention?

One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions for the word “intention” is “a determination to act in a certain way.” As we look at words and their meanings, we often find ourselves thinking of additional ones.

When you think of intention, what do you think of? I think of commitment. We take time to establish goals, make plans, and aim to accomplish. As we look at other words, how do they impact our intention?

We can start with good intentions, but without actions, we will fall short of our intention. Are you intentional with your actions to focus on what is essential?

Students “Don’t Care,” Do they?

Have you heard this, thought this, or said this? As you glance in a classroom, talk to students or staff, you get an idea of this statement.

Sometimes we are quick to place a label on something without further examining the roots to discover a solution. Engagement is our go-to word. Students are not engaged in learning, so they do not care. Whoa, stop! This is a snap judgment call without really diving in to look at solutions.

I have included a link below to a great article from EL Magazine. It is a quick read packed with great insight on how to look at barriers students may have as they face learning.

Standing in front of the class and giving information in hopes students will receive it with learning, as a result, is not a reasonable expectation. Then to think they can take this information and apply it. Well…

Students are not always interested in what we want them to do in the classroom or to learn. This does not mean they do not care. We have not uncovered how to motivate them with their interests, ways of learning, removed barriers or found the right strategies.

Students need clear feedback, a success that is important to them and to know peers are not judging them. Helping students reach their full potential can be accomplished.

http://bit.ly/2WbJ2pK

Thinking vs Knowing

A thinking thought for today!

“There’s a difference in thinking you are a champion and knowing that you are.” Matthew McConaughey

What is the difference?

Is it because you hold a title?

A young mother fights breast cancer and becomes cancer-free. She is a champion. She knows what she has overcome and does not need a title.

How do you describe champions? Please share your thoughts.