Finishing: Be First or Last… But Finish

The Raleigh Elite host the Carolina Dynamo in a PDL match at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, NC on Wednesday, May 31, 2006.  The Dynamo won the match 5-1 on 2 goals from Darryl Roberts and 1 a piece from Ben Hunter, Randi Patterson, and Jamie Franks.  Be...

“You have to finish things … you learn by finishing things.” Neil Gaiman

When I think of all the projects I have started and never finished… it’s a little embarrassing. There was a point in my life when I tried a lot of different creative endeavors; basket weaving (really, really hard), Ukrainian eye dying (maddening), calligraphy (oh brother), etc. I do crochet and want to learn to quilt, so I have big bags of yarn and fabric. Someday, I am going to create a lot of great stuff. (wink, wink). I like to start things, sometimes I fall apart when it comes to finishing. Am I alone in that or are you the same?

When I read the above quote… it caused me to stop and think. Do we really learn from starting things or finishing things or both? Think about the last project you started at home. Did you finish it? Think of a really big project you started at your current or past job. I assume the project was broken down into smaller pieces. Did you celebrate a little when each step was completed?

There may be limited benefit to debating the starting/finishing question, but my guess is that a few minutes contemplating both might lead to some personal insights. What causes me to procrastinate? What causes me to abandon something before it’s done? I’m not lazy; I accomplish a lot everyday.

Think about specific projects. Share your thoughts with someone and then decide to take one action.

Photo credit: wjarrettc  photo

Why Grit, Not IQ, Predicts Success

I wish someone had told me this when I was in middle/high school.

I am thinking of two mid-30’s business leaders.

One went to Yale and had a lot of advantages in life. He’s good looking in an Abercrombie kind of way, soccer star… you know the type. The other is also good looking (by that same standard) and athletic. He has a degree from a state school. His parents are teachers.

If IQ or ‘what college you attended’ or grade point average were the measures of success – the Yalie should win. But  something else is really at the heart of  business ‘success’ and it relates to:

— whether you see obstacles as opportunities or things that slow you down.

One way to to learn about obstacles as opportunities — is to grow up WITHOUT advantages. This builds grit and grit builds success. I wrote a post a few year back about people who failed time and again. Michael Jordan and Ulysses S. Grant. I had a college professor tell me I’d never graduate from college. Haha. I showed him.

Bottom line is — if you think that people who went to Ivy League schools are automatically successful, I ask you to think again.

As a country, we are suffering from ‘elitism fever’ (we think we’re better than others) – but deep in our hearts we know – the American spirit is grounded in pure grit. So next time you go to hire someone, why not ask… what obstacles have you overcome to be here? That might tell you everything you need to know.

Image credit: Elia Locardi

Got Your Six

I just learned about this… Got Your Six.

In the military when someone tells you that they’ve “Got Your 6,” it means they’re watching your back.

This post is about 2 things:

1) Who’s back do you have and who’s got your back?

2) What are you doing to help our Veterans who are returning from service?

Regarding #1 – I think it’s my job to care for every person I meet. By  ‘care for’ I mean see them. Look in their eyes, smile and listen. As for who has my back… there are so many people who have watched over me; I am blessed. I am sending out a loving thank you to each of you today.

Regarding #2 – Our Veterans are coming back from service– they need our support. The “all-volunteer” group of servicemen and women face significant issues resulting from multiple tours of duty and injury — to the body and to the spirit. We can all do something.  We just need to find it. They need support in– jobs, education, health, housing, family and leadership.

We need to take the skill and experience of those who have served and let them show us the way — while we stand by them and stand up for them. It is our duty and privilege.