Spring Time!!!

What a time of year this is!!

It is Spring Time!  Time to make leaps forward and take on new challenges as they are presented to you!  This is such an exciting time of year!

Students graduate, flowers bloom, couples marry, and everyone is coming out of the doldrums of winter!

For students, it is a time to start a new. A new grade, a new school, a new surrounding, a new job.  Spring forward and take every challenge that is presented to you! 

Reading Facebook posts, I see people talking about how they miss their youth, but it is our sons and daughters that energizes each of us and remind us of the experiences of our youth.  They allow us to see new experiences through their eyes, and at times, they ask for advice of their parents and grandparents. 

Spring puts a spring in my step each year!  Seeing the younger generation getting excited about “what’s next” is very invigorating!  Change is inevitable and change is exciting!  Remember what it was like on the last day of school and know that you were going to have a later bedtime, swimming, hanging out with your friends, music, and a smile on your face all summer long! 

Get Fired Up!!  Energize yourself with positive thoughts and know that it is Spring Time!  Time to spring towards where you want to be!  Don’t stay stagnant, always strive for something new! 

My High School class song was Fleetwood Mac’s, “Don’t Stop”  When I reflect upon the words there, I get energized and realize it is Spring Time!  “If you wake up and you don’t want to smile.  If it takes just a little while.  Open your eyes, and look at the day.  You’ll see things in a different way!  Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow!”

Get fired up and get ready to do something positive!  Decide where you want to be, and go get it!

Start a new!  Everyday is a new beginning and in the Springtime, it is time to spring!

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Leadership Lessons from Mom

On this Mother’s Day it is important to remember the CFO’s in our lives.  That is Mom, the Chief Family Officer.  I first heard this term on a commercial on the radio, and today on Mother’s Day it seems appropriate for remembrance of these unsung hero’s.

From the day that each of us are born, typically it is our Mom’s that not only provide nurturing, but also provide us guidance through the good times and bad.  When tough decisions need to be made, we turn to Mom.  When financial decisions need to be made, we need Mom’s blessings.  Through our years, it is our Mother’s that have the hope their development of us will allow us to reach our full potential. 

As a Chief Family Officer, Mom really has final say over Dad, whether he wants to admit it or not.  Dad’s will take their direction from Mom and each child understands the hierarchy in the family can make what decisions.  As we progress past High School and into College and the workforce, we translate the understanding of who decision makers are in the workplace.  We gain an understanding that the professional organization, much like a familial organization, must have a person who is truly looking our for the best interests of each individual and the organization as whole.  In most families, Mom is this person.

As each person embarks on their careers, we remember the lessons of our family organization.  How tough decisions are made, how we communicate with one another, when to play, and when to be focused.  The business organization is one that we spend 40+ hours per week at and where we need to effectively communicate, make tough decisions, work hard, and play hard with our professional family.

At the end of the day, we learn more about how to interact with others through watching the interactions of our mother’s.  We are successful, as a result of the drive and desire to succeed that our mother’s instill in us.  Think about how your first interaction with a CFO was really your mother, the Chief Family Officer.
Today, I leave you with some quotes and thoughts…  Remember your Mother today on this Mother’s Day.

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~Author Unknown

I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

Everything Grows…

Everything grows when it rains.

In nature, in order for things to grow, there must be rain.  As I drove past a field that had been scorched a year ago during a wild fire, there is a lush green field now.  As a leader, we are always challenged to take negative situations and turn them into a positive.  If we find ourselves in situations where we have been burned, we need to look for the opportunity to grow again.

Rain can take many forms.  Rain in this discussion is centered more about the decisions we make in the workplace.  All of us at one time or another have made a poor or ill advised decision in the workplace.  It happens to everyone.  We find ourselves in situations that we often aren’t thinking clearly, and as a result, end up in a place that we didn’t intend to be.

Do you have a reliable weather forecaster, a professional mentor that can guide you through your individual rainstorms?  These mentors are in the places that you least expect them to be and usually the person that you least expect them to be.  Your weather forecaster is someone that you trust to evaluate situations after the fact, and assist you in growing and maturing to not have another negative experience.  They are there to equip you to weather the daily storms that each person encounters.
When looking at rainy periods, it is important for you to understand how the rain developed.  Most of the time it was not El Nino or La Nina, but a series of events that led to a personal setback.  How you weather the storm will determine how sunny the future will be.  At this time, it is critical to spend a few minutes with your weather forecaster, look at the maps (how the situation came from point A to point B) to understand how the series of decisions led to the outcome that occurred.  The growing piece is gaining an understanding of how to avoid bad decisions and make better decisions in the future. 

I had the privilege to attend a panel discussion of senior leaders this week who spoke of having a mentor.  Mentors who would shoot straight with them and encourage them as they developed in their careers.  These mentors are your weather forecasters, the have been there, done that, and earned a t-shirt for the efforts.  Listen to what your forecasters have to say and they will guide you through the juggernaut that is your professional career.  You will have many forecasters throughout your life.  If you tune them out, you will continue to be bitter and scorched, you will never grow.  However, if you reflect on the feedback given to you, and incorporate the feedback to your particular situation, your decisions will be stronger and more decisive as you become more experienced. 

Pay it forward.  Become a forecaster for others and look for opportunities to share your experiences with those who are a little green so that they are able to grow and mature.

In my career, to quote a James Taylor song, “I’ve seen Fire and I’ve seen Rain.  I’ve seen Sunny days that I thought would never end.”  Rain is not always bad, and sun is not always good.  The sunny days always follow the rainy days.  Use those sunny days to grow and mature and I guarantee you will have more sun than rain.  Trust your forecaster to guide you.  Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.

Have a great weekend!

Why Connect?

Often times people will say, “I don’t want all my business being out there in social media land.  If I want to talk to someone, I will just call them or email them.”

That is a great idea, however…  Think about how many people in the course of your professional career and personal life that you have connected with.  Hundreds?  Thousands?  Tens of thousands?  Each person that you had an interaction with has helped shape who you are today.  The important item to remember, is you never know when you will cross paths with those individuals again.  Why not take the time to keep in contact with someone from your past?

Last month, as part of my membership in a local trade organization, we had a speaker at our monthly luncheon that presented a program called the ABC’s of networking.  Always Be Connecting is the way I remember because he told a story that was very personal to his family about how having connections literally saved his daughters life.  Without going into details, the power of having resources to draw on throughout your life is invaluable.

Some social media sites allow users to solicit or provide recommendations from their connections.  Other social media sites allow users to become connected to others with similar hobby interests.  These connections are able to help tell the story about YOU. 

Over my career, I have been asked to endorse others for jobs they applied for.  I have also been asked to refer job seekers to potential employers and recruiters.  It is a lot easier to refer people and provide endorsements for those where connections have been maintained.

Social media is difficult for some to embrace because it requires you to put yourself out there for others to interpret.  If you use social media intelligently, you can enhance connections to acquaintances, long lost friends, and potential employers.

Social media is a tool to write your story.  Use it write your truth, not your fiction.  Accept feedback from others, regardless of how critical it may be.  Be positive!  Remember, when you are out there, you are out there for all to see!

Have a great rest of the week!