Intending to read

Some of the books on my bookshelves ... I haven’t read. I intend to read them, but I haven’t gotten to them yet. Some of them have even been on the shelf, unread, for years.

I’ve always felt a tinge of regret about this. As though these books represent small failures. Little goals I never achieved. But a friend helped me to re-frame this.

Unread books serve as a reminder of the many things we do not know. A world of knowledge we have not yet accessed.

A plentiful, personal library — even one filled with unfamiliar texts — is the mark of someone with a healthy, intellectual curiosity. A lifelong learner.

Make time for the unread works, as time goes by. But when you discover pristine books with unblemished spines, don’t feel the sting of self-reproach; see those books through the lens of possibility … and a reminder of your endless passion for learning and growing.

stephen
Talking about people

You can learn a lot about people by listening to how they talk about other people.

Much more than, say, the car they drive, or where they live, or what they wear, or what they look like.

Listen to how they speak about other human beings.

You can’t draw a complete picture in this way, but you can come to know something about their hearts.

The flip side of this, of course, is knowing that other people can draw conclusions about you too, based on how you talk about others.

stephen
A lit fire

Lighting a fire under someone is different than igniting a fire within someone. If you light a fire under them, they will take action while the fire is lit. But as soon as the flame is gone, the action likely ceases.

Activate the spark within them — help them to access their own passion — and they carry the flame onward ... growing it and making their mark in the world.

stephen
Sufficiency

Is the story you tell yourself one of sufficiency or of poverty?

Of abundance or of lack?

Of possibility or of obstacle?

In order for us to move forward, we must begin with the attitude of, “I have what I need, right now.”

Mindset. Ambition. Resources. Motivation.

We overcome inertia by recognizing sufficiency, believing in ourselves, and then taking the first step.

stephen
Remembering

Did you forget about the dream you had for yourself?

Did you forget that you are powerful and well-able?

Did you forget the passion you have for being your best self?

Did you forget that you are remarkable?

Pause.

Take a deep breath.

Remember.

That feeling of empowerment ... of possibility ... grasp it once again.

Now pick your head up, set your shoulders, and go.

stephen
Decisions

When a group needs to make a decision, “laying out all the options” does not accomplish the task.

Discussing possibilities, evaluating risks, listing benefits, itemizing contingencies and dependencies ... it can all feel like decision-making.

But until a decision is actually made, we haven’t finished the job.

“What did we decide here?” If we can’t answer that question, there’s still work to do.

stephen
Packing

When we’re preparing for a trip, we’re careful to pack what will be needed. We take inventory and we evaluate various scenarios. Will I need this? Should I pack that?

Bringing this same kind of thinking to the workday is useful, too, and this goes beyond the material things like a bagged lunch or a notebook.

What kind of attitude should I pack? What kind of mindset? Which persona? Which posture?

Careful packing of these things can be just as important as an i.d. badge or a briefcase.

stephen