Monday, May 24, 2021

Lessons Learned

I was talking to one of my son’s baseball coaches recently. He teaches in a neighboring District. 

 

He was lamenting on what a challenging year it has been. He went onto say that usually, this time of year, he spends quite a bit of time reflecting on the past year. What worked? What did not work? How can he get better? However, this year…nothing. He said, “I just want the year to end.”

 

I am sure you can attest. His statement is spot on. The day to day is spent / and has been spent on survival. Not on growth. Not on reflection. And for the remaining 7 days of school, we have to keep grinding. 

 

What you may not realize now…but you have just led through the perhaps the most challenging times we have ever faced in education. Since March of 2020, it has been an onslaught of creative thinking, problem solving, conflict resolution, and remaining extremely flexible and adaptable. 

 

The lessons learned and won on the battlefield of your buildings, classrooms, and work space can never be taken from you. I know it’s hard to find any kind of victory lately…but take solace in this: you are better, stronger, smarter, and wiser than you were in March of 2020. 

 

My grandmother used to say ‘All sunshine makes a desert.’. Your leadership is a fertile field because of your day-to-day grind. Don’t ever lose sight of this. If this school year was a football game, I would say we just hit the 2 minute warning. Finish strong.

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it this week…and Win the Day- pja

 

56.83 seconds to read. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Epitaph

You have heard me write about / talk about writing your own obituary. I fully subscribe to the notion of beginning with the end in mind. 

 

And, you know each year, as I have encouraged you to do so as well, I pick ‘1 Word’ for the year. 

 

So today…I am putting a bit of a different twist on things. I started reading a book over the weekend, Halftime. The first paragraph of the first chapter has had my head swimming. It reads: 

 

100X

 

“It means “100 Times.” I have taken it for myself from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. I’m an Entrepreneur, and I want to be remembered as the seed that was planted in good soil and multiplied a hundredfold. It is how I wish to live. It is how I attempt to express my passions and my core commitments. It is how I envision my own legacy. I want to be a symbol of higher yield, in life and death. 

 

You can’t put your full obituary on your tombstone. But you can put ‘1 Word’ on there. Thus…what is your ‘1 Word’ you will live out? What is ‘1 Word” you will be intentional about truly making a statement over your life? 

 

Weighty. Yet so critical in separating the important from the essential. And, it really forces you to be intentional to begin with the end in mind. 

 

If inclined, and you have a word you settle upon, I would love to hear it. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it this week…and Win the Day. pja

 

40.32 seconds to read

 

Monday, May 10, 2021

GLS

Two things on my mind today. It dawned on me this morning…we have not been ‘together’ as a leadership team for quite some time. This weighs on me…as I think this is always a great opportunity for us to calibrate- and sharpen each other. And, as you know, the other thing lost in us not meeting- and I hope you are doing it on your own…journaling. If you need a replacement journal, let me know, I will get it to you. 😊

 

Also important: please hold AUG 5 & 6 for the Global Leadership Summit. It is back in person this year. I know some reading this have never attended. It is a tremendous leadership training over 2 days. It truly is a game changer…and sets the tone for the upcoming school year. As you may recall, the original mantra from GLS…and has stuck with me to this day: Everyone wins when the leader gets better.

 

Better every day. Beat yesterday. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it this week…and Win the Day- pja

 

31.07 Seconds to Read 

Monday, May 3, 2021

40 Years

As I was driving in this morning, I got lost in my thoughts (hard to believe, I know😊). Truth be told, I was thinking of retirement. I have long held I will work 40 years so I can get 100% of my pension. (And by and large, I believe I am fulfilling my life’s purpose…and I really enjoy being a Superintendent…although some days are harder than others😎)

 

So…I started breaking down the years. Which, oddly enough, I had never done before today. While I began teaching in 2000, officially in PA, 2001-02 was technically my first year. So, in order, to get 40 years, I have to work until 2041-42. That’s another 20+ years. Holy Smokes! 😊

 

Just when I had this point of feeling absolutely overwhelmed, I came back to reality. We are called to win today. Not tomorrow. Not the week. Just today. 

I know It’s been an overwhelming year for everyone. Win today. It’s the only thing we are promised. 

 

One of my favorite sayings the Navy Seals use during their training… I hope it gives you strength and fortitude for today:

 

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.” 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it today…and Win the Day.- pja

 

*43.99 Seconds to Read 

 

**Maybe one of my all-time favorite scenes from any movie about ‘winning today’. (Rambo II)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Chicken Bouillon

As crazy as it sounds, one of my favorite leadership books of all-time is The Giving Tree. Inherently, I believe true leadership is about servant leadership. No better example of servant leadership than the Tree. 😊

 

As I thought about today’s message, I recalled perhaps one of my all-time favorite memories as a teacher. And I believe it directly relates to servant leadership. 

 

As you may recall, I began my teaching career in Norfolk, VA. To say it was a stressful year would be a gross understatement. 

 

One particular day, my frustration and irritation had reached a tipping point. 

 

One of my all-time favorite students, and from one of the poorest families I had ever known, sensed my dismay. She came up to me, and a held a closed fist in front of me. 

 

I asked her to show me what was in her hand. She opened her clenched fist to reveal two wrapped cubes. 

 

I asked, “Is that beef bouillon?”

 

She replied, “No, it’s chicken bouillon. And it’s very good. I think it may help you to have a better day.”**

 

She had nothing of worldly value to give to me. Yet out of her nothingness, she completely changed my day, my perspective, and my leadership worldview. 

 

You may think you have nothing left to give this year. Like the Tree. Like my student. You do. If nothing else, your presence is enough to make a difference. Show up…and serve. Your legacy is being built- moment by moment…and day by day. 

 

I am in your corner. Get after it…and Win the Day. Pja

 

*59.51 seconds to read. 

 

**I kept the chicken bouillon cubes in my desk drawer for years as a great reminder of her impact. Reluctantly, when the smell became too pungent for a learning environment, I had to discard them. 😊

Monday, April 19, 2021

Admiral Nimitz

 I read a great story over the weekend. I will have to shorten it to keep it under a minute…

 Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt appointed Admiral Nimitz to take over the Pacific Fleet. One of the first things Nimitz did in his new role was fly to Hawaii to survey the damage. 

 

Death. Destruction. Despair. Nimitz remarked the mood of Pearl Harbor was as if the Japanese had already won the war. 

 

Admiral Nimitz took a boat tour- surveying the sunken battleships,  and destroyed navy vessels. As the boat made its return to the dock, the young helmsman asked Nimitz, “Well Admiral, what do think after seeing all this destruction?”

 

Nimitz’s response shocked everyone on board. He said, “The Japanese made 3 of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make.” He then went onto explain the mistakes and highlight the silver lining in the midst of all the carnage. 

 

As I reflected on this story…I was convicted of seeing more negativity than positivity and opportunities in light of recent events. The year has been tough. Yet, how much are we seeing the good – and the silver linings that are truly there…if you look with a discerning eye. 

 

It’s easy to see the problems. As leaders, we need to be more like Admiral Nimitz. Let’s look beyond the troubles- and see the opportunities…and spread hope and optimism. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get After It. And Win the Day- pja

 

*57.8 Seconds to Read

 

**If interested, I can share with you the 3 mistakes Nimitz said the Japanese made. Interesting. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Be Like Cliff

I always try to make the Monday Morning Message meaningful and relevant to you- and what you are dealing with. This morning…I was going to share with you about a guy who passed away Friday in Pittsburgh. He was 102. He served 81 straight years as an usher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. But that may have to wait for another day…

 

I know you are all dealing with heightened levels of stress right now. Unique to all of you are some really stressful situations you are encountering. 

 

So how, in the midst of all that is happening, do you bring life and leadership to those around you? 

 

Allow me to share a brief but powerful story with you- I began my teaching career at a reformed school for adjudicated youth (Summit Academy). I would say on average, we had about 3-4 fights a day. It embodied a high stress environment. 

 

There was an older gentleman that worked there. His name was Cliff. In spite of all the craziness happening during the day, you could always hear Cliff, in his big, booming, bass filled voice, telling students, staff…and whoever would listen- “You can’t take my joy.” Truth be told. They didn’t. He was calm. Stress-free. Joyful. Happy. And he brought those traits to those around him. Simply put, his presence made Summit a better place. 

 

You are leading in unprecedented times. Any number of distractions are occurring during the day to ‘Take Your Joy.’ As leaders, you can not allow this to happen. If your people, team, students, parents, etc. see you walking through minefields of stress, maintaining composure and bringing joy…inevitably, that is going to spread. I believe it. But you must fight. And be intentional with your thoughts- and most importantly, win the battle in your mind.

 

Be like Cliff. Allow no one to  ‘Take Your Joy.’- I’m in your corner. Get After It…and Win the Day- pja

 

55.54 Seconds to Read

Monday, April 5, 2021

Squeezed

I have been working with my daughter on handling stress the proper way. She’s a pretty- happy-go-lucky kid for the most part…except when she is stressed. Then, when pressed, look out. 😊 (Full disclosure: growing up with five brothers and no sisters…raising a teenage daughter humbles me every day.) 

 

A while back, I was at a community swimming pool. There was a mom who was sunbathing/ sleeping on the side of the pool. Her two adolescent daughters were playing catch with a ball in the water. At once, the one little girl threw the ball at the mom- hitting her in the side of the head…and subsequently getting her wet. 

 

As I watched this unfold- I fully expected the mom to awake with anger and irritation. Nope. The mom sits up…and has this gigantic smile on her face. (I can’t make it up😊 ) 

 

I suppose this story has always been forever etched in my brain because there’s zero.0 chance I respond the same way. 

 

I would imagine for the most part…we can go for the majority of the day- smiling and being amicable. But when the pressure rises…or stress is induced, what does your emotional wake look like? 

 

My challenge to you: how emotionally healthy are you? When squeezed, do you breathe life or fire? If it’s fire, how do you go about reversing that trend? 

 

If you were that mom poolside, what’s your response? For me, I know I have work to do😊

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it…and Win the Day- pja

 

(53.47 seconds to read) 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Be Strong

 In my community address last week, I described how I felt the collective mood of humans in general right now is ‘tired’. So it is with all of you. You all have gone above and beyond this year. I am forever indebted to you and all you have done to make this year a ‘go.’ But I know you are weary…

 

In my community address last week, I described how I felt the collective mood of humans in general right now is ‘tired’. So it is with all of you. You all have gone above and beyond this year. I am forever indebted to you and all you have done to make this year a ‘go.’ But I know you are weary…

 

That said, in a perfect world, I would give each of you the Super Mario Power Boost. At once, feeling small, scurrying to and fro, facing daunting challenges- to devouring a mushroom, now able to smash bricks and run through the walls of life. 

 

But I can’t. So I will do the next best thing. On the heels of National Poetry Month, I will share with you one of my all-time favorite poems. 😊 I truly hope you can find some level of inspiration from it. It truly is a battle song of victory. 

 

Be Strong!

We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;

We have hard work to do and loads to lift;

Shun not the struggle, face it, ‘tis God’s gift. 

Be strong, be strong, be strong! 

 

Be Strong!

Say not the days are evil- who’s to blame? 

And fold the hands and acquiesce- O shame! 

Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in Gods’ Name. 

Be strong, be strong, be strong! 

 

Be Strong!

It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong, 

How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;

Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.

Be strong, be strong, be strong! 

 

-Maltbie Davenport Babcock

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it…and win the day ~ pja

 

*53 Seconds to Read

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Battle for Your Mind

Prior to writing this message this morning, I was reading through my email. 4 different weighty situations happening right now; all 4 have the power to consume and suck the life out of the room.  

You are all dealing with similar. So how do we move forward, lead, and give life to those around us when the trials of life and our professions threaten to exhaust and completely derail us? 

 

I was reading a leadership article this weekend from Craig Groeschel. He was discussing the importance of winning the battle in your mind. This statement has stuck with me for days now:

 

“Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts. What we think shapes who we are.” 

 

Think on that for a moment. You win the battle in your mind by the words you are speaking to yourself. Not the message (s) being sent to you. 

 

Remember, lead yourself first. If you accomplish this, the rest will take care of itself. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it…and Win the Day. -pja

 

 

*48 Seconds to Read

Monday, March 15, 2021

"22"

I was recently challenged by my brother to read 22 books this year. He said, “All great leaders read at least 22 books a year.”

As I was doing some quick research this morning to fact check him…I stumbled across this stat:

 

The average person reads 12 books a year. 

 

Not one person reading this message would be ok with being ‘average.’ No true competitor/leader wants to be average, right?! 

 

So…where does the time come from to accomplish this? 

 

Two quick anecdotal stories for you:

 

First, I was listening to a podcast about two years ago (Michael Hyatt). He said, “You are shortchanging yourself as a leader if you are not exercising at least 30 minutes a day.”

 

My weight had ballooned to 204 pounds. I knew it was time to pay attention to my health… and get after it.

 

And, truth be told, I am not a fan of yard work. I am quick to remind my wife I only have so much time in the day…and I’m busy. 

 

And she’s quick to remind I can devote three hours on Sunday afternoon during football season for Steeler games. 

 

We make time for what we deem a priority. I am challenging you to grow yourself…and commit to reading 22 books this year. You still have 75% of the year left. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it…and Win the Day- pja

 

(51 seconds to read) 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Finding Purpose in the Daily Grind

 As my Monday messages have evolved over the past few months…I am continually exploring ways to encourage you as you slog your way through an unprecedented, challenging year. 

We currently lead in a time filled with a limitless amount of distractions. I know for me, a majority of those minor distractions can become increasingly annoying. 

 

Yet, as each day passes, we are creating and building, and leaving our legacy all at once. 

 

For the last portion of my dad’s life, he served as a lay pastor. I have all of his sermons on CDs. Recently, every time I get in the car, I put them on. They provide a great sense of comfort…and, it dawned on me this morning: it has been over 5 years since my dad passed. Yet his legacy lives on…all because he pursued his purpose in life.

 

So it is with you- determine your purpose- then go live it out. Your purpose transcends your vocation. You were meant for more than that. 

 

And when the storms of life come…as you know they will, always point back to your purpose in life. 

 

When you are able to do this, and actively speak purpose into your life, the distractions subside.  

 

Finally, perhaps one of my favorite reminders, “Fly with the eagles, Don’t let the turkeys get you down.”

 

I’m in your corner- Get after it…and Win the Day- pja

 

 

*50 seconds to read…

Monday, March 1, 2021

Lead the Fight

One of my all-time favorite books is Lone Survivor, the true life story of 4 Navy Seals who took on 200+ enemy fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan (Operation Red Wing). Even if you are not a military aficionado, it is an amazing book about the power of the human spirit. 

 

Recently, the US Navy named one of its newest war ships after Lt. Michael Murphy (who was one of the Seals featured in Lone Survivor). 

As I was reading about the USS Michael Murphy, I learned the motto of the ship is “Lead the Fight.”

 

I have always enjoyed and appreciated reading about various mottos of different ships and units in the military. 

 

I believe they serve as a great motivator and unifier. 

 

In John Maxwell’s best seller Leadership Gold, he asserts…’the hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself.’ 

 

To make it more personal and pertinent to your daily leadership…do you have a motto you live by…or, what is your personal leadership motto? 

 

We are living in challenging times. Getting up every day- and ‘Leading the Fight’ proves more challenging by the day. 

 

Yet, we need you to be your best. First and foremost, we need you to lead yourself. And, we need you to ‘Lead the Fight.’ 

 

If you do not have a personal – leadership motto, I highly encourage you to take some time to reflect…identify your core values, and pen your own. 

 

Lead. And win. Get After it. I’m in your corner. pja

 

 

*Here are some of the more famous Military Mottos if interested…

 

**(57.7 Seconds to Read) 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Journey Together

I think we can all agree the past year has been crazy. And the zaniness does not seem to be letting up. 

 

I have likened the past year to this: when I was a kid, and I would go into the ocean, if a big wave came, you dove under it. Most times, you had a rest before the next big one would come. 

 

This year, it feels like you go through one big wave only to have go under again, with little to no chance to catch your breath. 

 

So, the intent of my message today is to truly inquire, and ask, How are you

 

In the past ten days, I have spoken to a few on our Leadership Team who are battling the storms of life outside of work. 

 

Unless your home life is anchored, your work life will be a house of cards. 

 

Please know I am here if you need anything. Even if it is just a listening ear. We all journey together. And I inherently believe it’s our brokenness that binds us. 

 

And, most importantly, I hope you hear my heart: Thank you for being part of our team- and thank you for everything you are doing to move us forward. We are better because of you. 

 

I’m in your corner. Get after it- and Win the day- pja

 

Leaders, don’t be a public success and a private failure.”

~Brian Loritts

 

 

*53 Seconds.

Monday, February 8, 2021

The Leadership Challenge

Most of you are probably aware- I may be the least handy of handy men this world has ever known. My kids broke our garbage disposal. I watched a YouTube video…and thought, ah, I can fix it. After about 7 long hours- three trips to Home Depot, mission accomplished. 😊 I told my wife to just ignore the duct tape and buckets under the sink. 😊

 I started reading a book last week that came highly recommended. The Leadership Challenge. There was a line in the Introduction that has stuck with me for days now. 

 

I share this weekly email with about 25 people. If we were to poll just the individuals who get this email…and I asked you to give me your definition of Leadership- we very well could have 25 variances of leadership defined. 

 

Yet, back to the line in the book. Because I believe this line captured what leadership is/ or truly should be for where we are in 2021. 

 

It states, “We need leaders who can unite us, and ignite us.” 

 

Unite usIgnite us. If you took these two simple commands and allowed them to drive your day, your interactions, your agenda…imagine the impact you could have. Imagine what we could accomplish. 

 

Yes- in 2021, we need leaders who will unite us. And ignite us. Take the challenge. And get after it. 

 

I’m in your corner- Win the Day- pja

Monday, February 1, 2021

The Power of Reflection

 I was out shoveling early this morning with my youngest son. He said, ‘Dad, why don’t we get a snow blower?’ 

I said, “I have one. His name is David. Now get back to work.” 😊

 

I read an article this morning that said the average American quits his/her new year’s resolution today (01FEB2021). 

 

What about you? Where are you with your goals to grow and move the needle this year? What needs to be reevaluated? Re-Prioritized? 

 

I also read a subsequent article extolling the virtues of ‘reflection time’built into the day. The article went onto say that if we can make ‘Pause Opportunities’ a part of our regular, daily routine, our goals become that much more achievable. The pace of this life can be overwhelming. I know for me- I have an app that reminds every day at 10AM to pause, focus on my breathing- and slow my pace to gauge where I am mentally.**

 

I am hopeful you can take a few quiet moments today. Listen to the story you are telling yourself. Prepare your mind for the growth opportunities you have set for the year. And then, get after it. 

 

I am in your corner- Win the Day- pja

 

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences and failing to achieve anything useful.” ~Margaret J. Wheatley

 

*54.56 seconds

 

**Just because the app reminds me to ‘Pause”…doesn’t mean I always do it. I am a work in progress. 😊

Monday, January 25, 2021

All In For Today

 So I heard a story last week  – and it has really captured my attention. And, for the past week, has really resonated with me and focused my attention. 

 

The speaker was talking about one of the most dynamic people he knows. We will call him ‘Francis’. Francis is a successful businessman. And in his free time, he has established a practice in Africa where he works to free people from human trafficking. In the course of sharing the story about Francis, he said this: Francis begins every day with this mantra (and, he seems to really believe it). 

 

“Today is going to be the best day of my life.” 

 

Let that sink in for a bit. Imagine the difference you would/could make…if every day, the first words out of your mouth- or thought in your mind is “Today is going to be the best day of my life.”  And truly believe it. 

 

Identify those things in life that make you come alive. Then, get after it. Make today the best day of your life. 

 

Have a great week of getting after it. I’m in your corner. Win the day~ pja

 

Make each day a masterpiece. Don’t think your best days are out there somewhere. WHY NOT TODAY? Why can’t today be a great day? It can if you believe it will.” ~Coach John Wooden 

 

*53.31 Seconds 

 

Monday, January 11, 2021

"Well...Back to Work."

I read an interesting statement the other day. I am sure many of you know who Elon Musk is…he was recently named the richest man in the world, surpassing Jeff Bezos of Amazon. When asked to comment on this feat, he said, “How strange…well, back to work.” 

 

I had a mentor who once told me the key to leadership- and to being a great Superintendent, is to go win the trust of your people, EVERY DAY.

 

Growth mindset. Growing as a leader. Each and every day, we have to go out, and win the day. We win the day by not resting on our laurels- no one cares about what we did or accomplished yesterday…rather, we win by ‘getting back to work’…and pursing each day with excellence.

 

Get after it. Win the Day. I’m in Your Corner. Take care- pja

 

When you do the common things in an uncommon way, you’ll command the attention of the world.” ~George Washington Carver

 

*38.06 seconds

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Coach Tomlin

 Like many of you, as an avid football fan, I can be quick to be critical of the coach- and call for his ousting multiple times a year. Yet, maybe it is maturity- or appreciating leadership the older I get…but I have come to really respect Coach Tomlin (Head Coach of the Steelers) and his leadership prowess. 

 

For those non-Steeler fans out there…Coach Tomlin is known for his leadership quips. One that I have enjoyed the most…especially this past year, is ‘We don’t live in our fears.” Some don’t make any sense to me…like ‘There is a fine line between making wine and squashing grapes.’ (Perhaps there is a simple explanation for it…And I’m just not bright enough to understand. Highly plausible). 

 

One he said the other day really stood out to me- ‘Make Today Great’. I took it as, rather than be a passive recipient for the events of the day- and accept them as they come…you, as a leader, GO and make it a great day. 

 

What is in your power that you can control that will make it a great day? Spend some time thinking about those things in your life…that at the end of the day, when you lay your head on your pillow, you can say, in pure Ice Cube fashion, “Today was a good day.” 😊

 

Get after it today. Make it a great day. Win the Day- I’m in your corner- pja

 

Make each day your masterpiece.”- The Wizard of Westwood. 

 

*53.52 seconds

 


Are You Alive?

I read an article over the weekend about a 59 year old heart doctor. This guy has made a name for himself as the only person in the world to do back-to-back Ironman Triathlons in the same day. He has done this 4 times in his life. 

 

In case you were wondering or unaware:

 

An Ironman Triathlon is:

-a 2.4 mile swim

-a 112 mile bike ride

-a 26.2 mile run.

 

X2. In one day. 

 

While it is a beyond physically daunting challenge, he said the battle is won…or lost in his mind. He said he believes he has mastered the art of ‘talking to himself.’ Too often, we listen to ourselves rather than talk to ourselves. We listen to…our doubts. Our fears. Our limitations. However, he has learned to speak life and truth into the negativity so easily capable of pulling us down…and sending us into a downward spiral. 

 

No doubt stress is mounting for you. No doubt you will be met with a thousand energy vampires manifested in a number of ways. How are you going to respond? By listening to the lies of cynicism and pessimism? Or, by doing battle, and speaking truth and life over yourself? 

 

Win the day. I’m in your corner. Take care- pja

 

“The thoughts in your mind will always be more important than the things in your life. Choose happiness.” 

~John Maxwell

 

*52.42 seconds

The Present

 The window of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and the run up to the New Year always gets me to thinking about and reflecting upon what ‘1 Word’ I will choose for the New Year. 

 

Lately, this is what has been gnawing at me (it actually has been a multi-year gnaw😊): When I go to sleep at night, what exactly did I accomplish with the day

 

All of our time is finite. We are not promised tomorrow. Our only assurance is the present day. 

 

So the adage goes…begin with the end in mind. But for today’s post, simply think of the ‘end’ as the end of the day. 

 

When you bed down tonight, what will make it a productive-successful-impactful day? Determine those priorities- then, get after it.

 

Win the Day. I’m in your corner- take care-pja

 

 

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

~Stephen Covey

 

 

*39.42 Seconds.

Geronimo

I know this year has been a year like no other. You have been called upon to do more than you ever have- your leadership skills are truly being forged by fire. 

 

So this morning, I wanted to share two statements from the US Navy Seals that I think will provide some encouragement for you as you (hopefully) have an opportunity to step back, reflect, and recharge. 

 

As we have journeyed since March- each day seems to bring its own set of unique challenges and hurdles. In Navy Seal training, in order to drive on from yesterday and embrace the new challenges of the day, the mantra is “The Only Easy Day was Yesterday.” So it is with us…we embrace the new day- accept the new challenges before us- and know the day will be hard but we drive on anyway. 

 

And, in Navy Seal Training- knowing it will stretch them like nothing they have experienced before, another mantra they hold tight to is “Embrace the Suck.” Longing for easy days makes us weak and soft. Our leadership team has risen to the challenge because we have ‘embraced the suck’. We have held passionately strong to a growth mind set through the many trials we have adventured through. Adversity is the seedbed of growth. 

 

In closing, I cannot begin to express my gratitude for each and every one of you. I could walk around with each of you- and thank you on the hour every hour and it would not adequately express how thankful I am for you- and what you mean to our team. In the true spirit of Thanksgiving- thank you. You are leaving a lasting impact. 

 

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving- take care- pja

 

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

~Theodore Roosevelt. 

 

*53.02 seconds. 

 


Blind Spots

I was all set to talk with you this morning about a Maxwell Podcast I listened to last week. The highlight: Love your people; Lead your people. And Lift your people. 

 

Then I had a dream last night. And in that dream, a para-professional and I were having a conversation here in the District. And she says, I know what you are terrible at

 

I said, “What’s that?”

 

She said, “You do a terrible job of hiding your irritation. When you are irritated, everyone knows it.” 

 

I have been thinking about this dream quite a bit this morning. Maybe because it is a Board Meeting day. But in all actuality, it is true. I suppose it is a blind spot I have. And an area I know I need to work on. 

 

We all have blind spots. If you can open those communication lines to those around you- to better understand your grow areas, and allow yourself the vulnerability to admit your grow areas…you will become that much of a better leader. Admitting weakness is not easy but critical for us to grow individually and as a team. 

 

I hope you grow today. I’m in your corner. Fight the good fight- pja

 

What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.

~Haruki Murakami

 

*45.28 Seconds. 

 

Mental Fitness

 I have mentioned my oldest brother often times to you- he is a tremendous learning resource for me. Currently, he is in charge of Command Strike Group 3- he oversees about 10K sailors and Marines. 

 

He said one of the greatest challenges they are facing – from a personnel front- is suicide ideation. As we have talked about ways they are combatting it, he has spoken quite about on the ‘mental fitness’ route they are exploring. 

 

Recently, he met with a ‘Mental Fitness’ coach. The coach explained that one of the biggest ways to sharpen you mental fitness is to gauge your ‘Present-ness”. As you go through your day- with various meetings-interactions, etc. how ‘present’ are you

 

He said he has gotten into a routine of assessing how present he was after each meeting he has- and when he is talking with someone, how engaged he was in the conversation. 

 

I live my life in a perpetual state of distraction. BUT I know I could exponentially grow by being more present- and I am anxious to find out what it would do for my own personal ‘Mental Fitness’. 

 

How about you; how present are you? Are you fully where your feet are? What steps could you take this week to be more present? Not just at work- but home life as well? 

 

Get after it today. I am in your corner- take care- pja

 

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” 

~Amit Ray

 

 

*57.02 Seconds.

The Gladiator

 I came across this quote this week…spoken over 2000 years ago by Marcus Aurelius: “Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought.”

 

When I was in Elementary School, Jeff Kellner, the Principal, in a desperate attempt to keep us from watching ‘R’ rated movies would often repeat, “Smut -in- smut – out. Garbage in. Garbage out.” 

 

So it is with you- as you go about the week, there are enough competing voices to bring you down. What are you filling your mind with to combat the energy vampires? We all know energy suckers are aplenty…how can you flip the script to fill your mind with only those things that are going to give you energy? 

 

Emotional intelligence. Recognize those things that give you life. And those that drain you. 

 

Get after it- I’m in your corner- take care- pja

 

“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.”

~General James Mattis 

 

*40.43 seconds.