The other morning I saw an advertisement where a pastor told the story of 2 raindrops that landed at the top of the Continental Divide. One landed just half an inch to the west of the peak and the other landed just half an inch to the east of the same peak. That inch of separation made all the difference in the final destination of those 2 drops.
The drop that landed to the west followed its path winding through creeks, mountains, rivers, and valleys and eventually wound up in the Pacific Ocean, while the drop to the east journeyed to the Mississippi River and found its way to the Gulf of Mexico and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. One inch changed the trajectories of the 2 drops forever.
The Continental Decide
The choice of mediocrity will not require a lot of work, and it may make us content and possibly happy, but the downside is that the path of mediocrity will never lead us to discovering our true gifts and abilities that were given specifically to us. The choice of excellence will make us open to new ideas, challenging ourselves to constantly become better, but it will also be relentlessly hard work that will exceed the normal hours others will want to work. Both paths will have upsides, but they will also have their downside.
It took the 2 drops roughly the same amount of time to reach their destination. We also have the same amount of time allotted to us to live our lives. We can choose to discover our inner best or not. The interesting thing about the Continental Decide is that neither decision is bad, but the choice we make will take us to 2 totally different places while we are on this earth. I'll choose excellence. How about you?
Saturday, January 11, 2020
This past week, our district had the opportunity to have Ken Williams speak to our district staff. (By the way, if you haven’t heard him, you’re missing out. Click here for an example of what I’m talking about.). His message reminded me of the real reason we do what we do, to create men and women who are not only successful employees, but ultimately influential leaders, mothers, and fathers of future generations.
Think about that for just a second. How much more powerful would our work and daily efforts be if we constantly reminded ourselves that our work was designed to build future leaders? How much more committed would we be to our work if we knew our work was building mothers and fathers? Chances are that we would be more connected to our work with that compelling why as opposed to a work-based why like improving test scores.
If your why is compelling, your what will follow suit. If the reason you exist is to simply get the job done, your work will be driven by numbers and tasks, but if your purpose on earth is to build men and women of the future, not only will you instill values into your students and those you work with, but your numbers (test scores or whatever bottom line you need) will grow even more.
Ways to Stay Focused on your Why
Your day is not impacted by your Why unless you wake up to your Why. Some great strategies to start with your why include:
- Posting your Why in a prominent place that you can see when you wake up,
- Post your why in your car on your way to work, or on your desk or board in your room when your arrive at work,
- Tell others what your why is. When you profess it, it’s power grows.
- Set an alarm on your phone that reminds you to focus on your why.
- Have a morning routine where reviewing your why is one of the things you do.
Our work (WHAT we do) often fails to reach its potential because we are influenced by emotions of the day or even hour, unexpected issues and even setbacks. When these things come up, our why can lose focus and ultimately it’s effectiveness in making a difference, but when we start our day with the WHY, those unexpected obstacles stand much less of a chance of negatively impacting our work because our why drives our perspective.
Simon Sinek said real change starts with the WHY. If we take that simple yet powerful concept to the next level, we could conclude that real change occurs only if we commit to change for the better everyday; therefore, we would start everyday with our why and keep our focus on that why throughout everyday. And when we start each day’s work with the why, what we do will yield results and relationships beyond our wildest needs.