Tuesday, September 18, 2012

8 Days Rafting The Grand Canyon

Another big bucket list item bit the dust the end of this past August. My very good friend, Gregg and I, have done a few big trips together the past few years and realized that rafting the Grand Canyon has been on both our lists. So off we went.

I have hiked into the Grand Canyon several times. I find the Canyon to be quite a mystical place and very excitedly jumped at the opportunity to float the Colorado. We became part of a group of 19 eager rafters on two big blue pontoon rafts. Being a kayaker, I wondered if I would feel hypocritical running the Canyon on monster rafts that were over 30 feet long - and motorized. After 15 minutes on the boats and the first big water under our belts, I was sold that this was absolutely the way to go!

Thinking about 8 days looking a water, rocks and sky did get me wondering about how long it would be before I said I had had enough. That never happened. The scenery was spectacular, the water ever changing and exciting and the company was a pleasure. Admittedly, the other thing I did wonder about was if I could survive 8 days with no cell phone, email or internet! I can imagine some of you breaking out in hives just reading this and considering yourself suffering through a similar fate. Of course, I spoke of it as a real nice option and wondered more how my friend Gregg would fare. Without  exaggeration I remain solid in the story telling about how we barely thought about it the entire time on the river. Both of us live on the run and cell phones and internet keep us connected. The big question was if we could make it that long without connection. The answer was we did survive and the world went on to exist without our constant connection. Did I learn anything profound through this experience? After downloading the over 600 emails awaiting my return to civilization I found most to be junk mail and no others seemed to be screaming "where have you been?".

I often tell a story in our Leader as Coach workshop that suggests we will win at the leadership game when we get to the place that our people no longer need us but they want us. Maybe the experience of 8 days without contact proved that I may be a good leader? No one needed me while I was gone. Some did express missing me but none needed me.

So I move forward with the knowledge that I can resist that constant buzzing of my iPhone and be fully engaged and dedicated to the people I am with at the moment. No one is more important than you - the person standing right in front of me at this perfect moment. 

Maybe others could benefit from an 8 day purge of a habit that becomes automatic and we miss the impact it may have on others around us. If you think it could be helpful for you then I would recommend you pick an adventure on your bucket list, sit back and enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don’t Screw It Up!

I recently ended a Leader As Coach workshop with a picture of my two granddaughters, Reese and Isabel, on the screen. Besides using the oportunity to show off both my granddaughters as well as my photography skills, I had a very specific reason for this closing message.

I have the joy of traveling all over the world teaching coach like skills to leaders and executives. I consider it one of the ways that I achieve world work and have impact that is measured by the faces of those attendees as I then know that the way they see and lead others will be forever changed. And I get to travel and see parts of the world I never imagined seeing in my life time.

I miss my family when I travel. My wife, my grown children and especially Reese and Isabel. It is not quite the same when I Skype to talk and see them on screen. I am called "Flat Papa" when we Skype call. It suffices when I am gone and never quite replaces real live touch. Hugs and kisses can never be quite duplicated over the internet!

Back to the workshop. After two days of working with this latest batch of leaders I had a picture of these people being the leaders that will be leading my granddaughters some day or developing the leaders that will a generation from now. I imagined how Reese and Isabel will spend much more of their waking hours working for leaders like those I had in that classroom. More hours than they will likely spend with their parents as well as their own children. Imagine the impact these leaders will have on their careers and their lives personally.

It was the evening at the end of day one of the two day workshop after our nightly Skype call that it hit me. These people, or ones much like them, will greatly influence how my girls will be engaged at work. We know that the number one reason someone leaves a company is because their boss sucks. What if Reese or Isabel were to have that experience?  Maybe this was defining significance and purpose for me? Maybe this world work I do is intended to impact the experience that children like Reese and Isabel have when they enter the professional workplace a generation from now. That thought truly cemented how important the experience is that I can give every time I get the chance to have present and future leaders in our workshops.

Therefore, I placed a picture of my two precious granddaughters at the end of the slide deck and closed the two day experience with those two beautiful faces looking down on the classroom and said "Don't screw it up!"

As todays leaders continue to step into classrooms and workshops I applaud them for continuing to learn what it takes to be a significant leader and to realize the responsibility and honor it is to lead lives. And don't screw it up!