Category: Blog

Honor Your Gifts

“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Stephen R. Covey

Something that has been coming up for me a lot lately is the idea of honoring our gifts.

What does it mean to “honor” our gifts? And what are our “gifts” anyway?

Primarily, Covey describes our gifts above, as “endowments.” The difference between us and the rest of the animal kingdom is our capacity for thought and reflection, and all that flows from that.

We have thoughts, and know this, thus we are self-aware.

We have the ability to measure our thoughts and actions, against criteria, giving us a conscience.

Each of us chooses (consciously or otherwise… ) what we do or don’t do creating a course for our lives – our lives are up to us – we have independent will.

And, perhaps most importantly, we have the capacity to imagine new and better futures.

Honoring these gifts means we take the time and expend the effort to:

  1. understand ourselves;
  2. be clear about our values and standards;
  3. have clarity about our responsibilities and opportunities and
  4. realize and nurture our innate capacity for seeing the yet-unmade and believing we can help make it real.

No short order, for sure, but a satisfying life-long journey.

Honor Your Potential and Effort

“In preparing for battle, I have found that planning is essential, but plans are useless.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

The true magic of Ike’s words are that they describe who we become by planning.

I consider planning a way of honoring our potential and effort.

Sometimes, it is best to be spontaneous, to let things go as they will.

But, for most things, and anything of import, we are best-served by imaging what we want and creating a feasible scenario for its creation.

Otherwise we are mere creatures of circumstance – be more than mere.

Be A Creator

It’s 8:45 PM and I need a blog post for tomorrow. I could just blow it off, but I made a commitment to post every weekday.

Sometimes I don’t have the motivation/inspiration/will-power to write a substantial, original, blog post (most times, really).

Tonight is not only one of those times, but I don’t even have the wherewithal to riff on a quote (which is what I have been doing a lot of lately… ).

Hey! Would you look at that! I’ve written 76 words on not having anything to write…

Today’s post is a re-post of something I read this morning from Jonathan Fields (it was the the featured article in my daily Early To Rise e-mail); I really liked it and hope you do too:

 

How to Be Indispensable

By Jonathan Fields

I was recently talking to a COO at a public company about our comparative experiences hiring people. Him, on a giant scale. Me, on a micro-scale. And, what became clear to both of us was…

Scale aside…

There is a single quality that is so rare, when you find someone who has it, you’ll do pretty much anything to bring that person on board and keep them happy.

And, the thing is, some people cultivate it naturally. But, others, once they realize its power, may be able to build it into who they are and how they operate. So, what do we look for?

What is that single quality that makes someone precious and indispensable?

Beyond intelligence, loyalty, kindness, respect, discipline, pride, passion and compassion, it’s…

…the ability to create.

Sounds so simple. But truth is, the vast majority of people spend their lives learning how to follow then execute other peoples’ game plans. Fitting their skills, abilities and mindsets into the predefined responsibilities and tasks required by a predefined job. And, that’s fine. We need people like that in the world. If that’s you and you work with pride and add value and that makes you happy, rock on.

But, know too that you regardless of how “hard” you work, you will very likely never be toward the top of the “gotta keep ’em” food chain. Not because you’re bad at what you do, not because you don’t add value. Not because those around you don’t like or even love you. But because there will always be a sea of people lined up to take your job who can do what you do in a similar enough way to make your boss, partner, colleague or collaborator happy.

For every creator, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of operators.

Which is why, when you’re a creator, everything changes. Rather than being the one people ask to carry out a plan, people look to you to create a plan. To solve a problem, to innovate a new idea, product, service or campaign, to see opportunities where everyone else sees barriers, to blaze a new trail rather than follow a well grooved one.

And, the thing is, most often it’s not about radical departures from the norm or Earth-shattering breakthroughs.

What I’m talking about is the ability to create solutions on a daily basis. To understand we’re at point A and we need to get to point B, then tap your creative/problem-solving juices to conjure the best possible way to get there. As someone who’s steering the ship, that ability is immensely more valuable to me than someone who needs to be told every step from A to B (provided I also have skilled Operators in the pipeline). Because it frees up my own creative juices to focus on other projects, while trusting in another’s ability to figure out how to get done what needs to get done.

Truth be told, though, there’s one person who’s even more valuable than the pure creator/problem-solver.

And, that’s the Creator-Operator–the individual who can not only create anew, solve problems and map out innovative pathways, but also possesses the ability to execute, to bring those plans to life. People who can do both are extraordinarily rare finds, because creation and implementation are very different processes and almost always inhabit different brains and bodies, too. Most peoples’ minds just don’t function well on both levels. Which is why those folks tend to rise quickly up the ranks and often become entrepreneurs.

And, that leaves us with two important questions:

        • Are you a Creator, a Creator-Operator or an Operator?
        • If you’re an Operator and you’d like to become more of a Creator, is that “trainable?”