Skip to main content


Keep Perspective On Your Problems

Do your problems ever seem bigger than they really are? It could be a wonderful day filled with opportunities and fascinating connections with other people and someone we get fixed on a problem that gives us permission to feel unhappy. That seems like a poor choice to me. I've done it though. Have you? One thing I've learned about my problems -- even as I work to solve them -- is to keep them in perspective. Compared to other problems, how do they look? Compared to other people's situations, how dire is this really? Especially knowing that with the right process and resources I'll be no doubt solving my problem, what exactly is troubling me? I served for a while as a volunteer fire fighter. There's nothing quite like moving into a burning building or carrying a power saw on a roof to cut a hole in the top so the fire can get out to give you a sense of perspective. Suddenly, the little problems of the day fade away. My oldest son is a paramedic. Every tim

Build Your Character With Your Goals

What makes us who we are? If that sounds like a question for a twelve week course to you, you're probably right. What makes us who we are is complicated. Sometimes forgotten in the mix of genes, education, parenting, and peer adaptation is our approach to goals. Do we set goals, how do we set them, what kinds of goals do we set, how assertive are we about working on them? All kinds of questions centering on our approach to goals. It's easy to forget, but ever so important. How we achieve our goals determines who we become. Where ever we started, however we got to the present, regardless of our previous circumstance -- we control our approach to goals today. What's your approach? How are you doing at your goals? Where are your opportunities to create an even greater you? -- Douglas Brent Smith

Stay With The Search

Has the answer to that tough problem been eluding you? Stay with the search. Some problems take more than one day to solve. When problems stand in the way of your goal, they don't need to remain there forever. If it's a problem, it's worth solving -- even if it takes a while. -- Douglas Brent Smith

Forget About Blaming

When you run into obstacles are you ever tempted to blame someone? The goal is within your site, but something keeps blocking it so it must be someone's fault, right? Maybe not. And even if there is someone to blame, blaming them doesn't get you closer to your goal. Relentless action gets you there. Constant follow-up gets you there. Persistence and patience gets you there. Setbacks are not always rational and there isn't usually one thing to blame. So drop the blame. Move on with the action. Stay curious. Focus on your goal and (most importantly) the people who can and will help you achieve that goal. Because once you've achieved your goal, blame doesn't matter, does it? -- Doug Smith

Rules without Losers

One of my favorite lines comes from the character Lou Grant. It was either the Lou Grant Show or Mary Tyler Moore. He essentially played the same somewhat surly yet lovable boss on both shows. His line went something like this: "I don't like to make a lot of rules because then I just end up enforcing them." That seems like useful advice. As centered, high performance leaders we shouldn't need a lot of rules. And, we should be extra careful about being fair in the rules that we do create. If our rules create losers, why would anyone want to play? -- Doug Smith

Test Your Assumptions

Can you remember the last time that you were wrong? How did it feel to discover your mistake? Do you remember the cause? Could your actions have been built on a false assumption? We all make assumptions from time to time. It's when we live in the world of assumptions that we really get into deep trouble. The more we assume, the easier it is to take comfort in our assumptions. But, our assumptions are often wrong. When we're leading a team, developing performance, running a project and doing the important work of a leader we need to check our assumptions at the door. We need to test our thinking and clarify our expectations. High performance leaders identify and test any assumptions before launching a project or reaching a major decision. After all, isn't it better to spot your mistakes before you make them? -- Doug Smith

Bust that Barrier

What stands in the way of achieving your biggest goal? There's always something. It might seem bigger than it is, but it's there. It might be hiding in the field like a clever little rabbit ready to jump out and bite with the force of a wolf, but it's there. And, the very thought that it's there can sometimes keep us from going through that field. Sometimes our fears of the barrier are bigger than the barrier. Get past the barrier. Go around it. Go over it. Go right thru it if you can. Get past the hold, the clasp, the fence, the fear. Get past the barrier. Sometimes a barrier is simply testing how much you want to achieve your goal. You do want to achieve that goal, don't you? Get past the barrier. -- Doug Smith

Set Stretch Goals

Set the goal high enough that you have to stretch to reach it. That creates growth. That creates momentum. That creates energy. Great goals propel you forward. What's your current stretch goal? -- Doug Smith

Know What You Need

Do you ever confuse what you need with what you want? It's so easy to focus on what we want first. When what we want is a noble goal or a focused vision, that helps. When what we want is to play when we should be working, or to eat when we should be exercising, or to gossip when we should be supporting, that can be a problem. Sometimes what we want doesn't match what we need if we think what we need doesn't matter. What we truly need does matter. Neglected, it matters even more. Are you meeting your needs first? -- Douglas Brent Smith

Show Faith in Others

What does faith mean to you? Without getting into too deep of a philosophical discussion, I like to keep in mind that my faith has more to do with how others will perform than it does about my own performance. Sometimes we can get burned expecting people to do more than they do, but for the most part people's performance depends much on what our expectations are. Faith is more about your hope for others than for yourself. Your hope for yourself does include faith, and also hard work, constant learning, and openness to feedback. Who are you showing faith in today? Do they know it? -- Doug Smith

Notice the Brilliance Around You

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by someone's brilliance? They say something profound. They accomplish something amazing. They articulate a fabulous vision. Isn't that worth paying close attention to? Isn't that worth stay open and attentive to? A key part of mindfulness is stay alert and aware to the what's wonderful around us. Centered leaders follow their vision and stay open to the visions of others. People can cause us problems AND they can sometimes brighten our days with their brilliance. Let their lights shine! -- Douglas Brent Smith What have you learned today?