Go-time

Once you add water to Portland cement powder, you’ve got to move. You have to mix. You have to be ready to pour and apply. There’s limited time before the cement hardens. The clock is ticking.

And so you focus, and you get the job done. You can’t delay. You have to focus.

* * *

Are there things that you’ve been putting off, that just need a little push? They just need that first step that forces you to carry out the rest of the task? Like water poured into the cement mix?

Maybe it’s picking up the phone and dialing. Maybe it’s driving to the gym. Maybe it’s asking for professional help.

Whatever it is — that tipping point that will put important things into motion — figure it out, and take that first step. Push yourself into action. You can do it.

stephen
Seeing help

Yesterday morning, there was a long line of cars behind me at a red light.

Across the intersection, I saw someone who needed to turn left ... across my path.

Having seen people stuck there before, I waited for the light to turn green, and I flashed my lights.

I waved visibly. “You can go. Go ahead and turn. C’mon now. You’ll be stuck there.”

Nothing.

The driver wasn’t paying attention. She was lost in her own world of being stuck trying to turn.

What could I do? I had to move on.

* * *

She’s not alone of course. Sometimes we don’t see help, and sometimes we don’t even look for it.

Even now. It’s quite possible that someone is trying to help you in some way, and you’re just not seeing it.

stephen
Your surroundings

Who surrounds you? What are those relatives, friends, colleagues, and associates like?

More importantly, who stays top-of-mind?

Do you spend more time thinking about a bitter neighbor, or about an encouraging friend?

A gossiping coworker, or a caring mentor?

A much as you can, surround yourself — physically and mentally — with the people that are cheering for you. The people who want you to succeed. They’re the ones that matter most.

And the detractors? They’ll show up from time to time. You don’t need to help their cause by letting them occupy your mind when they’re not around.

stephen
Rejection

When nobody likes your idea …

Either your idea is not as good as you think it is, or the timing isn’t quite right.

It could be that you haven’t found the right people … the people who will love your idea. The people who will support it. Even help it to spread.

So before you take others’ lack of interest to heart … if you truly believe in your idea, then see it through. Give it all you’ve got.

For now, it’s not about them. It’s about you and your vision.

stephen
Distraction

If we want to find a distraction, we can. Very easily. At any time.

But it’s worth considering: why do we seek to escape? What are we avoiding?

What happens when we consciously block out the distractions, and we let ourselves focus on what’s most important? What happens then?

stephen
The asterisk

How prominent is the asterisk in the work you do? How much time do you spend apologizing for the flaws and pointing out the shortcomings?

Here’s an invitation: stop. Everyone deals with limitations and constraints. Time, resources, skill ... there’s rarely as much as we’d want.

But you don’t have to apologize. You don’t need a footnote saying, “This is the best I could do given the challenges I faced.”

Do your best. Be your best. Ship your best. No apologies.

Besides: tomorrow’s work will be even better.

stephen
“What do you want me to do?”

Asking, “What do you want me to do?” can be useful, particularly when expectations are unclear.

The trouble comes when the answer is, “I want you to do something without me having to tell you to do it.”

It’s the difference between equal partnership, and a relationship where one person is a doer, and the other is a doer and a director.

That second role involves more emotional labor. Knowing the schedule. Knowing the big picture. Understanding the various moving parts.

Sometimes “help” is more than satisfying requests. Sometimes “help” is becoming more involved. Taking on more responsibility. Knowing what’s going on. Doing, without having to be told.

stephen