“What If You…”
I meant to be helpful.
My daughter had shared an accomplishment with me…and I intended with all my heart to be helpful.
She had done well.
I had one little idea that could take her accomplishment “to the next level”.
And I shared it: ”What if you…”
Instead of being motivated by my wonderful, inspiring, universe-changing idea, she frowned and said, “Why is nothing I do ever good enough?”
That moment so many years ago was a powerful time of growth for me.
Many leaders are motivated by a vision for how things can be better. It’s a vital leadership ingredient.
But there’s a temptation that comes with that desire.
I inflicted it upon my daughter – in my rush to move to tomorrow, I failed to appreciate today – or her.
It’s a powerful temptation.
Tomorrow is shiny, new, improved, and wonderful.
Today is messy, complicated, and familiar.
You can push so hard for tomorrow that you neglect today.
Ignoring today is a problem.
Today is all you have – it’s where you live.
If you are particularly susceptible to this temptation, be on the lookout for chances to embrace today:
- When someone (like your child! or team member) shares an accomplish, celebrate with them.
- If you feel the urge to add the “oh, and if you do this it will be even better…”, bite your tongue. Better to bite it off, if necessary.
- Ask them what they like most about it, what was the most challenging, what are they most proud of?
- Explore the positive consequences of what they’ve done.
- Offer to share their accomplishment with others (and respect their wishes either way).
- Smile. Clap. Cheer. Ring a bell. Whatever is sincere for you.
- Find what is right. Be on the lookout for good stuff today. You will find what you’re looking for.
This is life-changing stuff. At least it was for me.
Living life continually pushing for something better tomorrow can suck all the joy out of today and leave us bitter and frustrated.
And that’s no way to live.
Who can you celebrate today?
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- 5 Ways Angry Birds Will Make You a Better Leader
- Why You Should Flip Flop
David M. Dye
(Photo by Aphrodite)
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I share twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. I currently serve as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoy helping others discover and realize their own potential.