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Keep Your Perspective – The Sun Is Always Shining

by Richard Norris on October 30, 2014

Perfection Diamond 300x169 Keep Your Perspective   The Sun Is Always Shining

Keep Your Perspective – The Sun Is Always Shining

Our perspective can make a massive difference in and to our lives and of those we lead. We are meant to lead with light and life even when things seem dark and gloomy. The right perspective enables such times to pass more quickly and things to become brighter.

We live in Scotland. For many, the perception is that the weather here is always dull, wet and gray. In the depths of winter that perception may factually be true. Actually, it has been that way for most of the past week and shows no sign of changing today. However, whilst that may be a fact, it doesn’t mean our lives have to be dull, wet and gray. Yet, sadly, for many, the weather reflects their perceptions and perspective on life. But the weather is not meant to dictate our view of life and our attitude. Yet, for some, it does.

The sun can be shining and the future filled with hope, yet for many their default setting is negative rather than positive.  Their focus is on the problems, challenges and trials in and around their lives. I know this from experience. I was one of those people who seemed to relish in walking around under a cloud. Whether intentionally or not, I was determined to make the lives of those around me overcast too. I was intense (still am actually). I was focused on my tasks and me and my wants and issues. As a result, I didn’t have many friends.

When it comes to your personal default setting, what’s your perspective on things – positive or negative?

It took time and many lessons to correct my perspective. I learned, importantly, that being negative, adversely effects your life, leadership and relationships. I tried to solve all my issues and problems myself. Not a smart move. No one can escape problems, but everyone can overcome them better and faster with the help of others. Somewhere along my own Journey of Success I finally woke up. My attitude sucked!

As the saying goes, “Your attitude determines your altitude .” If I was a plane, I was grounded. I had no lift. I was stuck in a perpetual valley. I spent a lot of negative energy wallowing and looking down rather than looking up in hope. You cannot get perspective when your mind is closed to possibilities. You cannot see the sun if you are staring at your feet.

A valley is a great place to get perspective on the grandeur of a mountain. A mountain is a great place to view the beauty of the valley.

Recently, I have been contacted by some men who are truly struggling with personal issues. As a result, they are struggling to regain the right perspective. They see the clouds and only the clouds. Maybe that describes you too?

I spent, nee wasted, the equivalent of years looking at life with the wrong perspective – through a negative lens. As a result, was it any wonder I felt life was hard? To make things worse, I was a killjoy. I recall times when I came across those who were happy and full of life and I made a concerted effort to bring them down to my level. It never worked. As a result, I felt even worse. A nice perpetual cycle. I attracted more gloom and negativity. I would have been a good advert for the negative perspective of the Law of Attraction. What I thought on, I brought on and little of it was enjoyable. I seemed to revel in making life harder than it needed to be. But, you cannot thrive that way; you can only exist.

If I wanted a fuller and richer life, I needed a fuller and richer perspective. I chose to shift my attitude and, thereby, my perspective. Sure it took time, but it has been worth it.

As I learned here in Scotland, even when it is gloomy, the sun will shine. In fact, the sun shines here in Scotland and where you are 365 days a year. There are just times when the clouds are in the way. As with the clouds, your situation will pass. Unlike the weather which you cannot control, you can control your attitude and perspective. Your perspective can change your life and that of those you lead and influence.

There is always hope. So…no matter what you are facing, please let me encourage you. You will come through it, because you can. You will come through it, because you have overcome before. Like the sun breaking through those clouds, your breakthrough starts with a decision. Decide today to remain hopeful no matter what you are facing.

You may perceive that no one understands nor has faced your situation before. I understand. I used to think like that. But such thinking is a lie. You are not alone. There are enough inspiring stories of those who have overcome great adversity and gone on to lead great lives. Nelson Mandela, Jesse Owen, Jackie Robinson, Ernest Shackleton and and Helen Keller are just some great examples. Had they not persisted and kept a hopeful perspective, history would have been poorer.

Life is not meant to be easy, but you can make it easier with the right perspective. Thomas Edison understood this. Thousands of his experiments ended in failure, but his positive attitude and perspective eventually led to the invention of the light bulb. Keep in mind that great success often comes through great adversity and failure.

You may even believe that your life’s lot is far from great. I used to think like that. Occasionally, I still do. But then I remind myself that compared to the majority of people on this planet I live an abundant life here in the West. I lack no good thing. I have loads for which to be thankful. There are many refugees in the war-torn parts of this world who would gladly trade places with you and me. That thought helps me regain the right perspective. As such, we, therefore, have no excuses. We have choices. And one critical choice we all have is to keep the right perspective.

Life will throw challenges our way. It will be our perspective that will largely determine how well we face them and overcome them. Maintain hope. Remind yourself that the sun is always shining. And live and lead determined to see it each day.

Your Powerplay

Know your default setting. Keep your perspective positive. Always seek the sun.



When You’re Learning To Serve, You’re Learning To Lead

by Richard Norris on October 27, 2014

Soliders Marching   Discipline 300x200 When Youre Learning To Serve, Youre Learning To Lead

When You’re Learning To Serve, You’re Learning To Lead

Leaders are always learning because they face change and what’s new every day. To thrive through that change, leaders must grow. To grow, leaders must learn. Learning often best occurs when a leader submits and commits to serve others rather than themselves.

My days as an officer in the army taught me a lot about leadership. One key lesson I learned was that no matter how high your rank there was always someone above you and below you that you serve. (That’s right, there are those below you that you serve). The best leaders understood this and got the best results. For me, I may have been in command of a unit, but my role was to serve the purpose of my unit. That meant I had to serve our Corps, serve the garrison, serve those we served and, especially, serve the soldiers in our unit who would make it all happen.

This understanding has enabled me to increasingly become a better leader whether at work, rest or play. It has helped me to become an award-winning business coach and a better trainer. With it, I have also become a better husband and father. In the days to come, I believe it will also help me on my journey to become a sports chaplain and sports coach. My focus remains to serve those I lead.

How has learning to follow and serve others helped you as a leader?

When your focus is serving, you maintain the right perspective to improve your leadership. Your focus is not on yourself, but on others. Those others can be colleagues, clients, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Those you serve are your teachers. What they have to teach you is priceless on your Journey of Success. You just have to pay attention. Then you can lead what you learn. This truth was underlined by one of my favorite leaders to follow and learn, leading social media marketer, Sandi Krakowski, in her book, Read Their Mind – How To Hear What The Marketplace Wants And Build A Huge Business. Like so many other great leaders, Sandi is a great servant. She serves her 1 million+ clients. The more and better she serves them the more her business and leadership grows.

I was recently reading an article about Canadian e-commerce success, Shopify. The article underlined how the company has grown from 500 square feet to 500+ employees since 2006. The company started out of a desire to sell snowboards online to fellow enthusiasts around the world. From what I read their success prevails because the company maintains a fun learning culture with a focus on improving their service to their clients. To do that consistently and creatively, the founders, Tobi Luetke and Scott Lake, have always put their people first. Their leadership and the culture of Shopify is intent on keeping their people – their employees and their clients – happy and healthy. They have chefs cooking free meals and yoga classes for their team. The executives share a ski-shop themed office to maximize communication, interaction and relaxation. These guys get it – with servant leadership, you’re learning all the time.

When you serve those you lead, you lead better those you serve.

Servant leadership is a perpetual course of learning. Every lesson reinforces the need to be responsible, be accountable, be obedient and be under authority. As a leader you are responsible for your own actions and responsible for those you lead. You are accountable for your results. To serve others best, you must be obedient to fulfill the needs and desires of those you serve. You know that you are under authority. Like a CEO or a general, no matter how high you climb as a servant leader, you maintain the attitude and awareness that there is always someone else above you, leading you. Keeping things in perspective with humility is essential.

For learning to happen, a leader must maintain a teachable spirit. This means they understand their priorities. For some leaders the priorities of leadership are centered about them – position, possession, power and pleasure. People are secondary at best. Servant leaders put people first always. The do so with humility and integrity. The priorities of their leadership are centered around others – purpose, passion, productivity and performance of those they serve.

The best leaders are learners. They know that their learning journey never ends. They understand that for them to learn best they must serve others with a teachable spirit. The better they serve, the better they learn and, thereby, the better they lead.

Your Powerplay

Approach those you lead with a hunger to learn from them. Listen. Learn. Serve.


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Waste Not, Want Not

October 23, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not Unnecessary waste underlines an attitude of complacency and even ignorance. No matter what resource you are given, it’s key to make the most of it. The less you waste now, the more you will have when you likely need it most. I hate waste. Every resource I’m given I aim to […]

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