Be a man of your word. That is old fashion advice that leads to better living. We should honor our word and do what we say we are going to do.
When Coach John Wooden was still early in his coaching career, he thought he had gotten the coaching job offer at the college that he wanted to coach basketball. There was a scheduled call to confirm the job. They didn’t call on time. In the meantime, UCLA called and offered him the job and he verbally committed because he hadn’t heard from the other. It turns out there was a huge snow storm and the phone lines were down so they couldn’t call on time. But they did end up calling later that day to offer him the job. It was the job he wanted. The one he had been waiting for, but he declined. Not because he had signed any contract but simply because he had already given his word to UCLA.
Keep in mind UCLA was not the school it is today. The facility was terrible. It was not the better place to coach, but it was where he committed to. His word was as good as any contract.
Even though it wasn’t what he wanted, he honored his word first. Then he made the best of it. He went on to build one of the best college basketball programs in the country and become one of the greatest coaches of all time.
I’m not sure many people would make the same decision he made today. But I’m not sure many people would have back then either. Coach Wooden serves as a great example to us all.
How good is your word?
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a time machine? Going back in time to experience the world or be a part of famous historical events would be fascinating, but I’m not even talking about that. What if we could just back to when we were younger? What things would we love to tell ourselves? What mistakes would we tell ourselves to avoid? What opportunities would we tell ourselves to take advantage of?
Wouldn’t we all want a do-over or at least have some sound advice to give ourselves? Unfortunately, we can’t go back to the 20 years younger version of us. That doesn’t mean we can’t still think about it. If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself? It is a worthy question that requires reflection and self-awareness.
Then I think there is another question that we can ask that is a bit more difficult. What about the 20 year older version of yourself? If your 20 year older version had a time machine and could back and give you advice about your life right now, what do you think it would be?
This is a more challenging question, but worth consideration. It has the potential to give us more clarity today.
What advice do you think the future you would give you today?
We can’t go on a road trip with kids without hearing the classic question, “how much longer?” If the trip is any where near an hour or more we will hear it and probably over and over.
We asked the question as kids too because all kids want to get to the destination faster. Waiting is hard. The interesting thing is we grow up, but we still have these same feelings and emotions of wanting to “arrive” sooner. We may not outload in our whiny voice ask the question like we did as kids, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking it.
Only now it isn’t about asking how much longer until we get to the hotel. As adults the questions we ask are more like:
“How much longer until I lose this weight?”
“How much longer until I’m out of debt?”
“How much longer until I can get my new car?”
“How much longer until my business is profitable?”
We all ask these types of questions of ourselves. We can even start asking them in the annoying, whiny voice like when we were kids. That is not a good sign.
All worthwhile things take time. Patience is so important in life. It may be boring. It may not sound like the million dollar solution, but it just might be. Patience is a sign of maturity. Unfortunately, many of us never seem to grow up. We are stuck asking those whiny questions like a 5 year old. We may dress it up to sound more sophisticated but it is the same basic question.
Why does it matter? Because impatience ultimately leads us to make a stupid decision. It leads us to get the car payment we shouldn’t get. It leads us to make the investment gamble we should have never made. It leads us to try the craziest fad diet ultimately causing our weight to yo-yo even more.
The irony in it all is that our impatience ultimately adds times or sometimes keeps us from ever getting there!
With a little more patience, we tend to make wiser decisions that are better for us in the long run.
How patient are you?
I am a huge fan of personal assessments that help us better understand ourselves and others. There are personality assessments. There are natural strengths assessments. There are even spiritual assessments to show us how we naturally worship best.
I’ve been labeled so many letters and words that I have to keep up with all natural strengths and personality traits on a spreadsheet! It is fun to learn and I do believe in personal assessments because I believe the more we understand ourselves the better. I’m sure I’ll take more assessments in the future, but there is a downside.
This is never the intent of any assessment, but if we are not careful we can use them as excuses. People do this all the time. It is easy for us to say things like, “that’s just not my strength area” or “that’s just my personality.”
Assessments have nothing to do with success in life. In fact, no one who succeeds at anything will list their personality or natural strength as the reason for their successs, so we should be very cautious of using them as an excuse as well.
I’ve seen some of the greatest sales people who could have said they didn’t have the natural personality type for it. I’ve seen some of the greatest leaders who could have used their natural personality or strengths as a reason not to lead. The bottom line is personal assessments have almost nothing to do with success, but they can help us better understand people which is extremely valuable.
The first step is understanding ourselves which helps us find our unique style. The next step is learning to understand others around us. This can help us have empathy towards others. When we have a better understanding of others natural traits, we can better understand how they may deal with situations differently than we do. It helps us walk in their shoes and maybe give them more grace. This is what assessments should do. They should help us better understand the people around us.
If we aren’t careful, they can have the opposite effect. We can be so self focused that we say “this is who I am” and expect the world to understand us when they don’t. We can use them as excuse not to succeed because that’s exactly what we need is another excuse to justify our failures.
So assessments are great, but use them wisely. Never use them as an excuse. Have more empathy for others because you better understand them.
Assessments may never help us “succeed” but they can make our journey better along the way.
Are you a driven, goal oriented person? Are you a dreamer with huge plans to change the world? Allow me to offer a little advice that may be helpful on your journey to massive success.
Will Power! Have you ever felt like you needed more of it! Is there something in your life that you know you “need” to be doing, but you aren’t doing it?
We all know that trust is important in life. We generally think of trust in terms of our personal relationships, but trust is a major factor in our professional lives as well.
Talk is cheap. It is easy for us to talk a big game. It is easy to talk about all the things we intend to do.
One of the greatest enemies of success is procrastination! It is a deadly killer of success. We have to battle it if we want to reach our full potential.
It is only natural that we want the easiest path to success. It is normal to want the greatest gain with the least amount of effort, but it isn’t the way life works.