INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Los Angeles Rams lineman Andrew Whitworth recently won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. In his acceptance speech, he told a story about a game against the Detroit Lions. After the game, a wide-eyed Lions player, Derrick Barnes, approached Whitworth, telling him what an incredible inspiration he was in his life. It turns out, many years earlier, Whitworth met a very young Barnes at a Boys & Girls Club, a place Whitworth frequented as a young NFL’er. Barnes reminded Whitworth that he’d spent time with him, just talking about life. Barnes wanted the hulking, yet gentle, man to know that he had made it – made it to his childhood dream. Whitworth said of the occasion: “On that Tuesday off day – when every guy sitting in this room that’s played knows, ‘I’d rather be at home’ – I made an investment in him (that kid). And I didn’t even know it. That’s a great lesson for all of us. None of us know when the moment is gonna present itself. The key is to always be available when it does.”
I’ve personally found this to be true; when someone recounts something I did or said that made a huge impact on them – an impact outsized in its outcome relative to the investment I put in. The moments when you have an unexpected impact on others will happen. You just don’t know when. So as not to miss those moments, adopt a mindset of servitude in your daily life.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
Author James Clear recently shared an observation that I’ve also shared (so maybe we’re on to something!) Clear said, “Nearly everything in life is unfavorable once it grows to a certain size. It’s entirely possible to have too many clients, too much work, too much fame, too much free time, and so on.”
It’s a mistake many make – including me – balance in our lives between what we spend our time on, and what we should spend our time on, gets out of whack. Our business we’ve been hustling to build is suddenly too big, taking over our lives and pulling us from spending time on other, equally (or more) important, things. We downshift too much, becoming bored and restless when we could be shifting time to a pursuit we’re passionate about. You get the idea. To maintain balance in your life, periodically inspect the “size” of things in your life, remembering that too much of anything is never good, and make adjustments as required.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
To create more helpful momentum in your life, use the Wagon-hitch Principle. Periodically ask yourself, “What have I hitched my wagon to?” We connect ourselves to things that impact our momentum all the time, often unknowingly. At work, have you hitched yourself to a powerful leader, vision, mentor, or process? Something, or someone, that adds natural momentum to your career progression, versus stifling it? Or are you attached to nothing at all, stuck in the mud, not moving forward, in a stasis of inactivity, self-doubt, and status quo? In life, have you hitched your wagon to a circle of empowering, energizing supporters or overly negative, critical, will-sappers? The wagon-hitch principle fosters self-awareness of the momentum you are creating, bypassing, or sabotaging.
But do keep in mind that it’s a supplemental strategy for creating career momentum. In the end, you own your career, and one of the most powerful things you can hitch your wagon to is conviction/belief in yourself.