I’ve never been a big fan of that phrase “think outside the box.” To me, it implies that you’ve been thinking INSIDE the box, or even worse, that you HAVE a box. I prefer to believe there is no box and instead I just think bigger, better, bolder and braver than ever before.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase in seminars, classes and workshops. Too many to count. Probably the same for you. But I promise you’ll never hear me use it when I speak or when I teach.
Don’t get me wrong…I love to be creative. I pursue that love through writing, speaking, planning special events, organizing my wardrobe and accessories, and even decorating my house. But I’ve never been one to follow the status quo in any of those categories.
Catchphrases like “thinking outside the box” are examples of how we routinely tell people to be creative yet we use clichés whenever possible. Doesn’t “thinking outside the box” literally mean to do something other than the obvious? #Irony
Next time you’re tempted to use a cliché in conversation, consider the alternatives. Forget there’s a box (throw it out) and come up with your own unique ideas!
So just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom and can’t cope with anything else negative in your life…be prepared. Something bad is bound to happen. Sometimes it will be really bad, and sometimes not as bad as it seems. The point is, don’t ever assume that nothing else bad can happen.
The important thing is not what happens to you. It’s how you respond to it. I’ve been tested a lot lately. More times than you even want to know or would believe if I told you.
But no matter what, I’m determined to hang in there and have faith…to be strong and believe that everything will work out in the best way possible. Let’s be clear – it may not be how I would prefer things work out. But it’s not really up to me, is it?
I have to believe that I haven’t come this far to only come this far.
So don’t let negativity or frustrations or stupid things hold you back. Keep the faith. Believe. Hang in there. Look to those people in your life that you trust and count on, and let them be there for you. That’s not easy, I know. But try it. Let them bear your struggles, your concerns and even your fears.
And keep on keeping on my friends. I’m here if you need me!
Football season is finally in full-swing, and for some of you that may not be important. (I don’t fully understand that, but I can accept it…) But whether you cheer for a favorite player or school, or just couldn’t care less about tailgating, fight songs, defensive coverages or mascots, you certainly still understand the value of working as a team.
For a football team, the leadership falls on the shoulder of the coach. And if the team is to be successful, the coach must coordinate his other coaches, support staff and players so they can work together. He does this by setting goals, scheduling preparation time, consistently practicing necessary skills, and building character.
These attributes aren’t just for athletic teams though. The same is true in your business life as well. Have you evaluated your skills lately to see how you perform as a coach or team member? Leaders aren’t just in the “head coach” role. We all have the potential to be leaders if we are willing to offer our motivation, talent, resources and commitment to the task at hand. It is equally important to be a key player on your team.
Good players inspire themselves. Great players inspire others.
Consider the teams you’ve been a part of…not necessarily on the field, but even in the office or in your community. Did you make a winning play or remain on the sidelines? If you truly want to move forward – as a leader or as a productive team player – it’s time to get into the game.
Your team needs you.
Birthdays are routinely associated with gifts. Today is my 46th birthday (I know what you’re thinking…WHAAAAATTTT???) and I’ve realized the best gifts I have received are friends – far and wide – who took the time to wish me a “happy day.”
More than 1,000 social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram…sweet texts (some very early!)…tangible cards with real postage stamps…phone calls and voice mails from those far away…a surprise cake from my Rotary friends tonight at a downtown music festival…it was all just what I needed today. I’m so grateful for the special gifts of friendships.
Some people think your family is limited to those who are blood relatives. But today, my friends, fellow Rotarians and social media contacts – from the Carolinas to Delhi – proved that untrue. These people ARE my family. And they are such gifts in my life.
“Life is a gift. Wake up everyday and realize that.” I honestly had no idea how true that would be for me today. But it was easy to realize because I felt loved and valued. But tomorrow is another day. We mustn’t let the “busy”ness of our business keep us from living everyday like this, or from helping others live everyday like this.
Who in your circle is a gift to you? Take a minute today (or tomorrow) and tell them how valuable they are. It could be exactly what they need to hear.