Those of you who follow my blog or other posts on social media may have heard about our upcoming workshop retreat. You may have noticed that my team and I are very excited about it whenever we bring it up. Well, this is the week it happens. In fact, on the day this post is published, we will be at Serenbe Farms with 15 leaders, from six companies across six states, who have chosen to invest a day in themselves on behalf of their organizations through their pursuit of the goal of Transformative Leadership. The trust that these participants have placed in us is humbling and my team and I have been working tirelessly to ensure an extraordinary experience for them. It is our goal that they leave the event equipped with both the mindset and the knowledge to serve and lead others more effectively than they previously thought possible, enabling them to experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from making a greater difference in their organizations and communities.
I don’t take lightly my responsibility of serving our participants, especially after all it has taken for them, personally and professionally, to be able to attend the event. However, after conducting hundreds of similar events, I have learned how to deal with the nervousness that comes coupled with a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of others I’m responsible for. I’ve learned that it is not about getting it right and it is not about looking good. It is not about what they think of me. These thoughts are all about me and you’d better believe they are swirling around in my head just before I get on stage to deliver a keynote or conduct a workshop. What I do to overcome these counterproductive thoughts is to focus on the participants and my mission and intention for them. The ritual I go through to prepare myself is to have a conversation with my business partner—who happens to be my coach—to acknowledge that those thoughts are there and yet, also, to state out loud my intentions for the participants. The intentions that I have been declaring lately are that the event or talk will create an extraordinary shift in the lives of the families of the people who work for or with the participants. I declare myself The One to make it happen and I acknowledge that it is not about Me.
My intention in every talk I give and every event I put on is to create a collection of those very same moments for the audience. I have gotten hooked on the testimonies I have read or heard after the sessions, days and weeks, and frankly sometimes months and years later. Call me sentimental, but I love to hear about how my intention has manifested in someone’s life—not because it is my intention, but because I have been enabled to play one small part in someone transforming their life. I remember Dan telling me that he attended his family reunion after having not spoken to any extended family members for over 15 years, and Dave walking around and restoring relationships with all the people that he had alienated in the plant we worked at, and Sally telling me about the heartfelt conversation she had with the congregation at her church about what she got out of our workshop and the decisions that were made as a result of that conversation. I have countless vivid memories of testimonies that remind me of the real reason that I do what I do.
I am also reminded that these defining moments don’t only happen in big events, training classes, and speeches. In fact, by far, most of these moments happen in conversations we have every day in the course of going about our lives. Drew Dudley’s TEDx Toronto Talk, titled “Leading with Lollipops” does an excellent job of demonstrating the significant impacts that a seemingly insignificant conversation can have in someone’s life. I would venture a guess that each of us can think of such a moment in time when an encounter or a short conversation triggered something profound that had far reaching impact in our lives. I am also certain that every one of us has triggered such an impactful moment in someone else, whether or not we were aware of it and whether or not they acknowledged it, to themselves or to us.
Exposing people in an organization to the conversation of transformation via a keynote or class or workshop has the potential to create these defining moments for the participants. The value of these moments in themselves cannot be overstated, but, by far, their greatest benefit comes from the fact that they shape the quality and context of the conversations in the organization going forward. Just as the smallest spark eventually gives rise to a blazing fire, so too does the ripple effect of these moments compound over time to feed off of itself and create more of these defining moments at an exponential rate. The culture of an organization is shaped by the conversations it cultivates and the ensuing actions that are taken within the context created by those conversations. Leaders who recognize the value of altering the default conversation—and invest in doing so—reap benefits that are difficult to describe but impossible to miss. In other words, “Believing is seeing!”
My requests of you this week are the following:
1. Seek to acknowledge that every conversation and encounter has the potential to transform a life, and be intentional about seizing these opportunities to leave a positive mark as they present themselves, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time.
2. If you have had your own “lollipop moment” and for some reason have not acknowledged the person who played such a pivotal role in your life, take the time to do so this week.
Have a great week! May you Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary! As always, I would love to hear about your victories and/or challenges. Please leave your comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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