I Created a NEW Podcast!

I love that in my work, I get to share powerful stories.

Stories are one of the most ancient ways of learning.

The very best leaders LOVE hearing the stories of others.

The very best leaders practice being interestED vs. interesting (love this concept by Keith Ferrazzi in Never Eat Alone). In doing so they learn, show compassion, identify opportunities to serve, and MUCH more.

So, when was the last time you were really interestED? I mean REALLY interested?

You have an opportunity to get that way, right now…

A few weeks ago I had the “a-ha” that I need to do MORE to share stories of leadership through the eyes of the ROCKSTARS I know. My friends, clients and colleges are doing tremendous things and since I know so many amazing people who are truly changing the world, I want to help elevate their stories and in turn I hope it elevates YOU!

As I thought about what “MORE” story sharing looked like for me, the vision for my new podcast was born.

I love writing, but it often takes me a long time to get content written. So, I figured I could use my gift of gab, record awesome interviews and upload them for my loving, interestED tribe.

My vision is FINALLY ready to share, so when you have 30 minutes, Give my new podcast a listen, leader!

Here’s why you should invest your time in my first episode:

Who’s featured: Joshua Meredith

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He’s a #millennial lawyer who teaches Master’s students about Ethics in the Workplace at Georgetown University.

Meredith is a leader, a #foodie and hubby to one of my dearest friends.
BTW, I love the way Joshua and his wife support the hell out of each other as they both make huge positive waves in their careers. They are a definition of “power couple.” #relationshipsgoals

And…after our interview, Joshua received a huge promotion…he is now the Assistant DEAN.

It’s because he is a #rockstar #leader.

When I asked Joshua to tell me about his personal leadership brand he said:
I’m the type of leader who practices what he preaches because accountability is the best way to earn trust.”

As I spoke to him, I could feel this. He is a no B.S. type of guy who wants to see results! He encourages students to have a plan and to never shy away from fear. And, you’re going to love what he asks his students at the beginning of each class:

What’s a five letter word that will make you successful?

The word?

He says it’s rarely guessed.

Listen to the podcast for the answer and to see if you agree!

You’ll also want to hear what he has to say about being a generalist vs. a specialist… 

His advice to millennials who want to do #EpicShit is rock solid. In fact, his advice is great for ANYONE who is ready to live with more passion and impact.

Are you going to gift yourself 30-minutes to be interested in what he has to share?

It’s time to get interestED, folks!

Check it out: Millcoach Talks ~ JOSHUA MEREDITH and let me know about what you learned by being InterestED today.

Rock on,

SJ
aka the @millcoach

My Own Personal Brand of AWESOME

Idea. Idea. Create. Create. Loiter, write, tweet, post. Breathe deep. Trust.

Overwhelmed. At peace. Crazy. Calm. Heart pumping. Heart hurting.

Travel-Vegas.

Excitement. Adventure. Status update. Soulful. Bitch. Worrier. Angry. Fly off the handle. Slow down. Inspired. Idea. Idea. Create. Create. Snap.

Travel-Bozeman.

Speak. Tweet. Hustle. Coach. Move with velocity. Move like a snail. Status update. Freak out.

Travel-Phoenix.

Rockstar status. Crying baby. Laughing baby. Best baby. Birthdays. Tweet. Clean, cook, clean. Shop. Periscope. Clean. Smile. 

Travel-Wisner.

Drive. Hike, hike, hike a 14er. Feel old. Feel young. Accomplishment. Screaming baby. Tweet. Beautify baby. Laundry. Tears. Coffee. Laugh. Stretch. Lead. Create. Coach. Calculate. Worry. Push on.

Heal. Idea. Create. Love. Idea. Create. Love. Lead on.

***

Yup. My life over the past few months has been a tad bit INSANE.

I went from working like crazy for someone else to working like crazy for myself. MYSELF.

…without a fully baked business plan (but Sir Richard Branson says that’s ok, so I’m justified, right?).

I am my own boss. Wahooooooooo!

I am my own boss…oh, Fuck!

This is crazy. This is awesome. This is terrifying. This is ME!

I’m pretty sure my Husker Lovin Hubby is near the end of his rope and thinks I’ve officially lost it. He wonders when I’m going to give up and get a “real job” again. A job with a consistent paycheck. He wants to know why the house isn’t cleaner (since I’m home all day of course). He wants to know what I do all day (because taking care of two kids and working on my computer is NOT work, right?!). He wants to know if I’m happy living on a dream and a prayer. He wants to know if it will all be ok.

God love him.

I love him.

And I’m glad he loves me. (If you’re reading this babe, please just hang with me. I’ve got this!)

Now, I’m going to get real…

I am happy living on a dream and a prayer, but at times over the past few months, I’ve wanted to give up and just start applying for jobs. To take the road most traveled…

Why should I be one of the “lucky ones” who gets to live their dreams? Just get a job Sarah! Do the safe thing.

At times I’ve felt like an imposter.

Who am I to be a leadership coach? What the hell do I really know?

At times I’ve wanted to take a nap instead of hustle.

I’m tired. I’ve been working like crazy for a looooong time. I’ve got two toddlers. It can wait until tomorrow, right? 

At times I’ve pissed off my family. I’m being selfish to spend most of my energy on making #EpicShit happen.

But, although all these things pop up, I won’t give up. 

I’m not an imposter. I will continue to hustle. Why?

This is what I was BORN to do.RockstarBelieving

I was born to be a leader who helps people see their own unique brands of AWESOME. I was born to encourage young, amazing leaders to focus in on their #EpicShit and then hold them accountable for making strides to actually make that shit happen, NOW.

I was born to be a CQA: Chief question asker. I was born to be an ass-kicker and NO bull shitter. I was born to be a professional cheerleader. I was born to help people bring more LOVE and Leadership into this world. I was born to rock #EpicShit.

I was born to lead.

I’ve never felt more ON FIRE.

I WILL do this because I CAN do this. I am on purpose. I love this.

But, language is language.

It’s easy to say I’m going to do this.

But, if I’m going to continue doing this thing. I mean REALLY do this thing, I’ve gotta lean into what I AM. Even when my brain screams at me all of the things I’m NOT.  I’m not a great housekeeper, I’m not an expert at managing my time with work, kids, husband, time for me, time for fun, etc.—I constantly think I’m going to get more accomplished than I actually do. I’m not…

Shhhhhhh…

Instead of listening to the inner critic and all the things I’m NOT, I’ve gotta lean into what makes me, ME and MOVE forward! Every damn day. 

EVERY DAMN DAY.

MOVE. Forward.

Even if it’s not perfect. Even if I’m not perfect.

This is what has been bringing me new clients, a new herd of amazing rockstar leaders who joined my #EpicShit 21-day challenge, new social media contracts and new opportunities to ROCK leadership workshops for ag organizations who know the importance of building leaders from the inside-out. That’s right. Being ME. Moving forward. Hustling.

Plus, I’ve got to be really clear on my goals (that until now I hadn’t formally written. Yeah, having them in your head is ok, but it’s been proven time and again that people with written goals ROCK out far harder than those who don’t…plus they make more money $$$. I’ve been a total hypocrite because I coach people all the time to write their goals all-the-time. So yup, I was NOT practicing what I preach. But…today’s a new day and I’m focusing on what I can do to BE ME).

So, here it goes. I’m making a public declaration. I will:

1. Have a minimum of eight active, private coaching clients each month (starting no later than November) and at least 50 rockstars enrolled in each free online offer that I create.

2. Take the kids on fun adventures in nature at least once a week (even in the winter). 

3. Practice yoga at least two times per week. 

4. Pay off my credit card debt by July 2016. 

5. Make a million dollars within the next three years. (that’s right…I wrote this).

6. Speak at a minimum of six conferences by July 2016. 

7. Start writing my first book before the end of 2015.

8. Have official date-nights with Husker Lovin Hubby at least twice a month.

9. Act in alignment with the truth that I CAN and WILL achieve everything I dream of.

These goals are not totally SMART…yet. And I’m sure they can be stated with much more Vim, Vip and Vigor. But that will come. This is a place to work from. They are written. I can have all that I want. I am worth it. The universe is listening.

Wow, this feels pretty good.

Hey….did you know…you’re also worth it! Right?!?

Do you have YOUR goals written down? Have you looked at them recently? How’s it shakin? Have you shared them with those who matter most?

Need some help? I’d love to be your CQA and professional ass-kicker. Let’s launch your #EpicShit. You can join my #AwesomeAugust club for virtual coaching along with a herd of amazing young leaders (starts next Monday-8/3), or I have a few spots open now in my personal coaching program.

Your #EpicShit is waiting to be unleashed too, so let’s rock!

#AwesomeAugust-2

No Time? Maybe You Should Grow Some COURAGE

I wish I just had more time.
I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done.
I HAVE to do this task/project/request.     

Have you found yourself muttering something like this within the past week?

You feel an almost constant tug. Muscles tighten, your breath is short and you feel your throat constrict.

When you’re doing one thing, you’re anxious about the ten other things you’re not doing.  Or you’re worried about what’s coming up next.

You often long for time for yourself…to do the things YOU really WANT to do.

Today, many of us live in an environment painted with the illusion of urgency. Lots of people feel a sense of entitlement, to get/have YOUR attention, IMMEDIATELY.Time

I need you NOW!

Ding. You just got an “important” email.

Buzz.  Your bff is texting you.

Chirp. Oh, you just got tweeted. #cool

Ring-Ring.  Your biggest client is calling now and it’s an emergency.

Now you’re at a stoplight…better check your phone…something important is happening…

Do you have “FOMO” (fear of missing out)? Your phone battery is sucked dry before noon each day because you’re constantly checking in.

It’s madness. Really.

You can stop this madness. Today.  Really.

I want you to breath this in:  My time, is MY time. I CHOOSE how I spend each minute.  I create my own reality. 

So here it is: Time management is all about choices. It’s that simple. Choose crazy or choose cool.  Choose to be very a “important” person and fill every waking moment with urgent and important things or choose to be very effective, focusing on important but not urgent things (yes, I LOVE Stephen Covey and the Time Management Matrix).

You KNOW this. Right? So what’s the problem?

You’re being a puss. 

Yup. I just said that.  And I’m going to go on…

You’re lacking COURAGE…to be YOU and to live a life that’s YOURS.

Why?

You’re REACTING to things that don’t really matter.

Perhaps you’re doing this to avoid having to get real with others (or even yourself) about what you truly want/need. You might even justify it by saying well, “It’s my job” or “I want to keep the peace” or “I am a servant heart.”

So then why do you feel exhausted, beautiful? Why don’t you ever have that block of time that is just for YOU?

Maybe you’re even feeling a little resentful?  All of these people…stealing your time.

But, you let them, darling.

The good news?  You’re reading this post today…so I’d bet you’re ready to make a change.  Congrats!

You can take off your puss pants, and step into your own BADASSery.

How? Check out these seven time tips:

time

  1. Stay laser focused on YOU.

    What’s your purpose? What are your goals? What roles are most important to you? What’s the major cool thing you want to put out into the world?

    If you know your target(s), it’s easier to maneuver around ANYTHING that might get in the way (including other people’s agendas).  Reconnect with YOUR truths EVERY day.  Leadership (of self and of others) starts with an “inside-out” approach.

  2. Get real with yourself about how much time things really take and schedule the right amount of time.

    I’m constantly thinking I can get things done in 30-minutes and then two hours later, I’m still not done.  (Perfectionist much?)

    This under-estimating problem just leads to frustration. Be realistic. There is no prize for getting shit done faster…quality is better than speed. Schedule time for quality.  Lately I’ve been guestimating how much time a project will take, and then doubling (or even sometimes tripling it) in my calendar.  Then if I get done early, I have the gift of time!

  3. Just BE. In the moment. Feel it. Be present.

    Be CURIOUS instead of crazed about time. Get over the “FOMO” and think “JOMO” (Joy of missing out). Fully occupy your space.

  4. Say “No.” Unapologetically.

    When?  Whenever a request is being made of you that isn’t a priority (for YOU).  Think about #1…is the request aligned to YOU?  If it doesn’t, you can say “No,” without a second thought.

    I know, this is easier said then done…and I know this from lots of experience of being a puss. But when you do own your passion and mission, saying “No,” feels good.  Why? Because you’re actually saying YES to YOU.

    My favorite way to say “NO”: “Wow! I really appreciate you thinking of me, but I won’t be able to do this.”

    Will this approach piss some people off? Sure. But it doesn’t matter.  Aim for ROCKSTAR status…not mediocrity.

    Here’s another scenario where you’ve got to hone your “No”: Meetings. My Husker Loving Hubby is a great model for me on this one.  He reminds me that when a meeting is scheduled for an hour, it needs to be done in an hour.  If the meeting moderator doesn’t adhere to the established time constraints, he will actually get up and walk out, even if it’s still going! That part gives me a little heartburn, but I love the principle!

    So, what do you do if you’re in the never-ending meeting and you still have agenda items to explore? It’s YOUR job to A) check-in and let the other person/people know you have a hard stop at X o’clock.  Do this 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time is up B) make an offer to schedule another time to complete the work.  Yes…you can stop the meeting.

    By continuing on and not saying a word, it shows people it’s ok to just steal your time…and they will do it again, and again.  Don’t give your soul away. Say “No.”

  5. If you really care…find someone else who can help with requests/tasks.

    This means you might need to LET GO of the need to do everything yourself. Yes, you can likely do it better than someone else, and you might need to coach them along the way, but who cares? Give someone else the gift of experience. Are you a leader or an island?

    If you have to say “No” it’s super awesome to provide an alternative like “I can’t help with this, but I know that Jill was looking for an opportunity to try her hand at this type of project.  Have you asked her?”

  6. Ask “Does it have to be done right NOW?”

    You might be surprised about the answers you get to this question. Don’t resign yourself to false deadlines. Most requests being thrown your way can be honored…later.

    AND the cool part? Whoever asked for your help with be HAPPY as a pig in shit! Tomorrow, or next Wednesday could be great alternatives to right now. Don’t assume you know the other person’s timeline.

  7. Ask questions and shift priorities, ONLY when YOU want to. If the person making the request is your boss or someone you really respect or want to help, try to learn more about why their request appears so urgent.

    Perhaps you DO need to re-prioritize your tasks so you can help.  TimeNotEverything

    Perhaps you Don’t…

    But, before you decide, you may need more information.

    Try something like this: “Please help me to understand…”  

    1. Why I need to drop my current priorities to fit this in?
    2. How I can fit this task in with the other ten priorities I have on my plate right now?
    3. Why do I need to be the one who does this?

That’s it.  Stay focused.  Say “No.” 

Do you need someone to help you stay accountable to this tips? Someone to kick your ass when you fall off the wagon? Enlist a friend.

OR, I help people do epic shit all the time, and I can be part of YOUR journey to AWESOME.  I can help you stay true to what YOU”RE being called to do. Shoot me an email at sarah@syzygy-co.com and we can chat about how this can work.  Yea, I might call you a puss (lovingly of course), but you can call me out as too, because time is a dance. You learn and you grow. Some days you’re stronger than others, but each day is a new opportunity to choose. 

What choices are you making today?  

3 Things Horses Teach Leaders

For the past several years, I’ve been incorporating the wisdom of horses into all sorts of leadership development workshops. Over this time I’ve learned a lot about my own leadership brand and purpose. I’ve also worked with some amazing equine-guided rockstars who’ve inspired me. And I’ve seen incredible lessons offered by horses to people who have strong desires to step up their leadership games.

Horse-to-human...oh the lessons you can hear!

Horse-to-human…oh the lessons you can hear!

As I look ahead to spring, I’m beyond excited to continue my journey with horses and LIVING my passion for helping develop leaders who will do EPIC shit in this world!

The upcoming Leadership Through the Eyes of the Horse workshops that I’ll be facilitating with my business partner, Kami Guilder (in my beloved Arizona and beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado) are going to be powerful. As we plan for these events, my heart starts pumping harder, my mind reflects back to the people I’ve seen grow by listening to the lessons the horses offered and I grow impatient because I can’t wait for these events to get here! Why do I love this work so much? Because of these three lessons I consistently see the horses demonstrating:

1. Leaders must lead THEMSELVES effectively before they can be good leaders of others.

2.  Gut instincts matter.  Listen to them. Your heart will tell you way more than your brain. Leaders often forget this…

3.  Being curious is the key to new breakthroughs in business, in life…in everything.

Group activities with multiple horses and leaders can create lots of fun layers of learning.

Group activities with multiple horses and leaders can create lots of fun layers of learning.

Being able to help leaders have experiences that teach these lessons (among others) is a blessing. Today I ran across a few pictures of a workshop in AZ from 2011. Since these pics were snapped the people you see have seriously been ROCKING the leadership world. I’ve seen their influence grow, their confidence bloom and yes, even many of their bank accounts have expanded!

Lead me...with authenticity please.

Lead me…with authenticity please.

As you look at the pictures, be CURIOUS.  Ask “What lesson was this horse teaching?” Be curious about what you think the leader in the picture is feeling. Be curious about how horses might be able to help YOU step up your leadership game and have the courage to find out by registering for an upcoming workshop.

Have questions? Let me know: sarah@syzygy-co.com.

Are you ready to do YOUR EPIC shit?

Who are you leading?

Who are you leading?

Eating Alone?

I finished the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  I had the opportunity to see Ferrazzi speak at an ASTD conference a few years ago in Atlanta and I was impressed by his messages to be interestED, not interestING and to create your own powerful personal Board of Directors (BODs).

Ferrazzi’s text provided insightful reminders about the importance of strong relationships. Relationships with others provide strength and humor, support and understanding, and new ideas and challenges.  How do you do it?  Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

1) “Disciplined dreamers all have one thing in common: a mission. The mission is often risky, unconventional, and most likely tough as hell to achieve. But it is possible.

2) “These days, I rarely blanch at the chance to introduce topics of conversation that some consider off-limits.  Spirituality, romance, politics—these are some of the issues that make life worth living.”  Fail safe conversation starters at business mixers include “How did you get started in your business?  What do you enjoy most about your profession?  Tell me about some of the challenges of your job?…But safety—whether in conversation, business, or life—generally produces “safe” (read boring) results.”

3) “Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:  “Every man I meet is my superior in some way.  In that, I learn of him.”  Everyone had something to teach him.”

4) “The ability to bridge different worlds, and even different people within the same profession is a key attribute in managers who are paid better and promoted faster.”

5) “We humans beings are social beings.  We come into the world as the result of others’ actions.  We survive here in dependence on others.  Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from other’s activities. For this reason, It is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”  Dalai Lama

I’m studying equine guided education and how horse herd dynamics can teach us about relationships and leadership.  Each horse has its job in the herd and thrives with the support of others.  Put a herd of horses together in a big pasture and you’ll find they’re always within site distance of one another.  They like to be close.  Introduce a new horse to the mix and watch how quickly they get to know each other and establish roles.
Horses can teach us so much about relationships.

Image

Thinking about my own relationships, I’ve been reviewing my personal BODs and who I’d like to add.  Ferrazzi says to write it down and make it happen!  Think Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!  Hmmmm… I’ve got some big dreams!  How about you?

I’ve been meaning to read Never Eat Alone forever, and finally got it done on airplanes.  Last month I decided while I’m traveling, I’m going to read.  Not the crazy Sky Mall mags, favorite People or US mags, or things for work (unless it’s a must).  I”m going to read real books!  This “found time” has been wonderful and I’m reading more than ever before!  Never Eat Alone is my second travel book after Water for Elephants…I’m rotating business books with brain candy books.  Have any suggestions for my next good read?

Follow Farazi on twitter @keithferrazzi for great tips on how to start meaningful conversations and intriguing thoughts.

Lessons Learned from Cowboys-Part 2

Part 2…

#3-You have to build a strong network of amazing sidekicks 

Doc had Wyatt, Butch Cassidy had the Sundance Kid, Woody had Buzz, Roy Rogers had Trigger, Dale Evans had Buttermilk…I could go on and on listing famous cowboys/cowgirls and their trusted sidekicks.

The lesson here:  To be a success, you’ve got to surround yourself with support. 

Cowboys know running a ranch takes more than two hands, and life is a whole lot better when you’ve got a strong network of hombres to help get the day’s chores done.  Get a group of hard-working cowboys and cowgirls together and watch out…belly laughs and memorable times out in this wild world are soon to come.

Do you have a strong network of sidekicks?

What kind of support do you need most?

Don’t be an island, share yourself with others and receive wonderful blessings.
It makes a life worth living.

 “In every cowboy’s life he gets himself a good horse, a good woman, and a good loop!”  

#4- All serious SOBs own trucks

Trucks Only!  Like a Rock, Built Ford Tough, or yes, even one of those sissy trucks like the Honda Ridgeline I used to drive…trucks are essential.

Cowboys and their trucks are almost as famous as Cowboys and their horses and dogs.  Most will defend their choice in brand to the death and they love being the King of the Road.

Ok, I realize not all households need a truck, nor am I suggesting everyone should consider truck ownership, but my translation is this cowboy lesson:  If you’re going to “ride for the brand,” you’ve gotta have the right tools. 

If you don’t have a reliable way to transport your cattle to market, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best quality beef in town.  Do you have the right tools to be serious in your pursuits?

BTW…my first date with my husband was secured ONLY because I drove a truck…lol!

#5-Baling twine and duct tape can save the world

Well, these two farm staples may not be the solution to ALL our earthly problems, but seriously, this cowboy lesson is all about using easy solutions.  We all waste countless hours worrying about issues that can be solved with a few simple ideas and creativity.  The cowboy mantra for the day is:  Keep it simple, stupid!

What lessons have YOU learned from Cowboys?

Please share.

Leadership Lessons Learned Camping

Original post from 2012

Last weekend my Husker loving hubby and I went camping just past the small town of Silverthorne.  The landscape was covered in amazing shades of greens, purples and yellows, truly proving the whole “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” motto you see on the signs when you cross the state lines.  The snow capped mountains in the distance were like the type you see in pictures and the eagles, hawks and birds dotting the skyline gently reminded me to relax and enjoy the moment. 

I’ve realized there are a few leadership lessons that can be gleaned from getting out and enjoying the great outdoors while camping, so here are three to chew on:

1)      Be resourceful and creative to produce memorable results! 

During our camping trip we found ourselves needing to find solutions to meet needs we hadn’t planned for.  For instance after the first day and a half we ran out of plates (note-to-self: buy some actual camping plates that can be reused silly!).  this was a problem at dinner the second night.  It was: eat out of your hand or make plates out of something on hand. 

Our choice?  Tin foil plates!  Not ideal, but functional, and dinner was wonderful!  Others: Vase for wildflower centerpiece = beer koosie.  Entertainment = Brother-in-law scaring the crap out of Husker loving hubby by pretending to be a rabid wolverine in the dark.     

Strong leaders constantly think of creative, new ways to approach business challenges and opportunities.  So many people think they aren’t creative.  I beg to differ!  Everyone has the ability to tap into their imaginations!  Just let go and let the ideas flow, even if they sound a little funny!  You just have to be willing to put yourself out there.  I’m sure we looked silly eating dinner off our foil plates, but it got the job done and it was fun trying to create them!  But I’m also sure inventors and scientists of today’s most amazing technology were viewed as crazy at one point or another too.      

Camp cooking = great opportunity to be resourceful and creative!  Here is one of my favorites called “Omelets in a Bag”:

Large quart or gallon freezer bags that zip

Eggs (2-4 per person)

Shredded cheddar cheese

Your favorite omelet fixings like Ham, Sausage, onion, green pepper, tomatoes, etc.

Salt & Pepper

1) Fill large, fire-safe pot half-way with with water and bring to rolling boil over fire

2) Have each person put their favorite omelets together inside the bag, zipping tightly.   Combine ingredients by squeezing bag several times.  Just remember, the more eggs you use, the longer it will take to cook.  2-3 is ideal. 

3) Place bags in boiling water, trying to avoid sides of pot.  Boil for 15-20 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. 

The eggs will be fluffy and flavorful, but HOT so be careful!

    *Use prep cooked sausage and cut up lunch meat ham to keep things super simple.

    *Try this at home with the kids for a fun breakfast adventure!

 

2)      Leaders who consistently create “thinking time” win more!

I turned off my cell phone when we arrived at camp and didn’t turn it back on again until we left town.  Did the world end since I wasn’t accessible?  Nope, and I didn’t expect it too. 

I just finished reading “Crazy Busy” by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and he speaks about American’s addiction to gadgets and how it’s impacting our lifestyles and thinking patterns.  His assessment is that people get so busy because:  We can be, we want to be, we must be, we imagine that we must be, busy is fun, we let our technology run us instead of running our technology, being busy is a status symbol, we are afraid of being left out or missing something if we slow down, we are afraid that we will not keep up our standard of living unless we are super busy, we can avoid the pain of life, everyone else is busy, we don’t have to feel guilty about doing nothing, you don’t know how to not be busy…and lots, lots, more.  All of these things resonate with me, but at what cost to our well-being and creativity? 

This is a simple lesson.  Put down the gadget once in a while, and give yourself some space to think.  Technology is grand, but it shouldn’t rule your life or get in the way of your next best idea!  Disconnect, enjoy the beauty around you and be open to new possibilities.  By the end of the weekend I was moving with a more grounded pace, my attitude was WAY brighter and had some great new business ideas!  Not having an agenda or a third-arm gadget was SO worth it.  I know I’ve blogged about this before, but I really believe in the power of unplugging.

3)      The proper bait is important, but good bait doesn’t guarantee success.

I’m not much of a fisherman at this point in my life, but I enjoyed casually watching the fam fish over the weekend while I read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.  Over the hours of fishing, no fish were caught for our camp.  One guy standing right next to us put in one cast and boom, he caught a fish.  His young sons caught fish.  People across the river were catching fish.  Cast after cast yielded a few bites, and one close call for Team Bohnenkamp, but at the end of the day, nothing came to pass for our camp.  We even asked those who were “winning” for bait advice, but it still didn’t help. 

My guess on this one:  It was the technique and the energy, not the bait, that kept the fish away. 

The boys were so focused on catching a fish right away, that they didn’t seem to be enjoying the moment or the process.  I’m quite sure the fish could sense the forced nature behind each cast and as a result they threw up a big the middle finger. 

There is a new country song out by Trace Adkins that I love and it talks about going fishing.  He takes his daughter out and while they’re dropping a line in the water she tells him all about her days, her kittens, etc.  “She thinks they’re just fishing,” but to dad, this time together, enjoying nature and each other was the real good stuff. Check out the video here.
 
The point here is that good leaders are completely present in the moment with their staff and enjoy the ride.  Your company might offer the right type of “bait” to attract high quality employees, but that doesn’t guarantee success.  Employees have to feel safe, supported, and valued and leader’s actions will greatly influence these feelings.  As a leader, how do you show that you’re present and human?  Sometimes the need to produce results can blind us. Strike a balance.   
 
That’s all for now.  What leadership lessons have you learned from camping?  Please share and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Leadership Lessons Learned from Dutch Bros Coffee

Dedicated to the famous and amazing Dutchie, Branson!  The best barista EVER! RIP my friend!

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Coffee isn’t something I used to drink.  I just didn’t like it.  My hometown didn’t have a Starbucks (until just a few years ago) and my morning routine never included a cup.   My coffee cravings changed dramatically when I moved to Arizona.  This is when I discovered the joys of a designer, drive-thru coffee!  I immediately feel in love with the tremendous variety of coffee concoctions and the convenience of getting a caffinated beverage at one of the 100 coffee stops along the way to work!  And over the past seven years, coffee has been my friend…through many trials and tribulations of management and a few extreme projects which begged extra hours and brain-cells.

Today I love finding reasons to enjoy iced, non-fat, yummies with caramel or macadamia nut (and Yes! I know I could have probably paid off something with the small fortune I’ve spent, but it’s been worth every penny!).

My affection for a good cup of Joe isn’t the topic of today’s blog.  Rather it is linked to my affection for the service and leadership lessons learned during my coffee consuming EXPERIENCES!  Although Starbucks has written books about their brand of service (and I’ve hired their past employees because they rock), today my vote for service excellence is for Dutch Bros Coffee!

Most would agree that world-class service (and leadership) is all about creating an “experience.”  People want to feel something warm and gooey as they pony up their dough for your goods (or pour their heart and soul into your big project).  Dutch Bros. has the secret sauce and here’s what I’ve learned from them:

1.  People:  Hire the Smile, Train the Skill!  (I heard this phrase at a service workshop about ten years ago and loved it!)

No news flash here.  People are the most valuable assets.  NEVER EVER settle when hiring.  Pick good ones and develop them.  Great PEOPLE make the Dutch Bros. experience worth writing home (or a blogging) about.

I’m certain the job interview at Dutch Bros. isn’t weighted heavily on the key techniques for making the best espresso.  Rather it’s likely geared toward finding rock stars who can describe or show you how to engage people in fun conversation and deal effectively with high-pressure situations.   You can teach most people how to make coffee (or how to run a teller window, sell an insurance policy, build a widget, etc.), but you CAN’T train an outgoing personality or attitude of servitude.  Look for the four People “Ps” (these can be applied to good leaders too!).  People who are:  Proactive, Professional, Positive and Phun (ok, I realize I’m trying really hard on this one…lol!).  I miss my Arizona Dutchies not just because they were fast, accurate, and made great coffee.  It’s because they are fun PEOPLE who shared positive, fun experiences with me.

2.  FUN:  Have as much of it as possible.  (You can see I’m on the fun kick today…)

This one echoes the FISH! philosophy… make work PLAY!  I’d always leave Dutch Brothers with a big smile along with my Iced, Non-fat, Annihilator.  Why?  Staff would be focused on their coffee making tasks AND joking and laughing, while jamming to upbeat music.  It always looked like fun to work at Dutch Bros. and it spilled out of the drive-thru window, even when the line was 10 cars deep.

My all-time favorite Dutchie, was Branson.  He was the best at letting the fun roll out of the drive-thru window and into my truck.  I’ll never forget the day he attempted to “Teach me how to Dougie!” while ringing up my order. He often shared hilarious stories about pranking his co-workers and shared outrageous hiking and biking adventures and he always had a great big toothy smile on his face.   His passion for living and sharing a vivacious life rubbed off on others and he helped to create a world-class service experience at Dutch Brothers.  Why did I take extra time each day to drive out of my way to pay more for coffee?  I needed a little sunshine to start my day and I knew Dutch Brothers would always deliver.  Consistent fun and great coffee!  A perfect combo!

Don’t silence the child within too much leaders!  It’s a fatal mistake.  I challenge you to peg your fun meter!

3.  Love Loyalty:  provide added value to those who are devoted. 

Dutch Bros. shows the Dutchie love all the time.  They have a coffee punch card.  Every time you buy coffee, get a punch (go on Tuesday and get two punches).  When you fill the card, get free coffee!  Added value baby!   Sign up for their texts or like them on Facebook and get special deals for coffee discounts!  Show them the love and they will do the same!

There were many times Kelsey and the gang showed me the Dutchie love.  Sometimes it would be an awesome Dutch Bros. sticker (my fav has a horseshoe on it!) and other days my drink would be waiting for me when I pulled up (I LOVED this!).  Other days it was more unexpected like the day my Husker loving hubby and I left for Kauai to get married.  We stopped by to grab some Joe before heading to the airport and the gang wouldn’t let us pay.  When we left AZ for the Colorado Rockies, Dutch Bros. was our last stop out of town.  They bid us goodbye, and again wouldn’t let us pay.

Consumers have so many choices today for where to spend their dollar and it is nice to be recognized and rewarded for loyalty.   Employees feels the same way, right?  Many say it’s hard to find a job in today’s market, great employees rarely find it challenging to find new positions.  As a leader, what have you done to recognize and reward your hard-working, loyal employees?  Do they like coffee?  A small gesture can go a long way and can add up to big rewards.

As we drove away from Dutch Bros. the day we left AZ, I had tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t believe I was sad to be leaving a coffee house!  I was even a little embarrassed!  Coffee?  Making me all teary eyed??  What the…I guess being surrounded by good people, who are fun and aren’t afraid to show the love fit my needs just right.

It was quite an EXPERIENCE being a customer of Arizona Dutch Bros. and I wait (not so patiently) for the day they come to Denver.  For now I will just have to take trips to the Springs when I need a Dutch Bros. fix. (and YES!  The people there are awesome too!)

DutchMafia

What are you doing to create extraordinary experiences with your customers and teams?  Leave a comment and share YOUR secret sauce.

Thanks for stopping by!

Messages from a Monk

I read The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma.  This book is a fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny and was recommended to me by a friend.  The title alone intrigued me. 

As I began to read, I was entertained by the story of a hot-shot lawyer turned Monk, his faithful mentee and the lessons of leading a happy life.  But as the story unfolded I sensed a strong connection to concepts from another book that has been a major influence on my life: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.  As I went through each chapter I honestly began to think the Monk’s story was a total rip-off of Covey’s work…I mean it even used some of the exact same language and stories!   

But I’ve lost my critical view.  Why I am I reading, if not to learn and be challenged? 

Today’s leadership lesson:  stories with the same end in mind can be told in millions of different ways and one approach is never “better” or more “right” than another.  Imagination and creativity are two of the most powerful virtues we have and the freedom to tell a story “your” way is our birth-right.  Your story might share the same virtues as others, but the unique way YOU tell it might connect with one audience better than mine (and visa-versa).  Abundance vs. Scarcity Mentality Sarah! It’s all about the learning!

All conversations about the intense value of spending time each and every day taking care of “you,” mind, body and soul, are needed in today’s busy and technology filled world.  Drained workers across the nation need to hear many different stories sending the same message:  Slow down.  Take time to think, take time to take care of you and be of service to others.  Stop living the quarter life and move on to the whole life experience.  This book sends a TREMENDOUS message. 

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One of the most brilliant pieces of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is its structure.  It uses the power of conversation and story-telling throughout, and at the end of each lesson, provides “Wisdom in a Nutshell,” which ties in a visual symbol for the lesson, 2-3 key pieces of wisdom & techniques, and a “quotable quote.”  

Here is a quick summary of symbols and virtues learned from the Monk Who Sold his Ferrari:

1)      Magnificent Garden = Master (cultivate) Your Mind

2)      The Towering Lighthouse = Follow Your Purpose

3)      Sumo Wrestler = Practice Kaizen (continuous self-improvement and doing things you fear)

4)      Pink Wire Cable = Live With Discipline 

5)      Gold Stop Watch = Respect Your Time (courage to say no and simplify)

6)      Fragrant Roses = Selflessly Serve Others (relationships and giving)

7)      Path of Diamonds = Embrace the Present

All of these symbols are included in the fable presented by Sharma.  It’s creative and a quick read.  I’ve been thinking about the story a LOT…a sign of a GREAT read. 

Some of my favorite quips from the book include;

 -Your can is more important than your IQ.

-I’ve had dreams and I’ve had nightmares.  I overcame the nightmares because of my dreams.

-The very fact that you have a desire or a dream means that you have the corresponding capacity to realize it. 

-Whenever a negative slide comes up on the screen (of your mind), take swift action to replace it with a positive one.

-Imagination is more important than knowledge (I love this one from Einstein)

-Only those who seek, shall find.

-We have 60,000+ thoughts per day and most are repeats.

-The secret of happiness is simple:  find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it.  Once you do this, abundance flows in your life and all your desires are filled with ease and grace. 

-Wage War against the weaker thoughts that have crept into the palace of your mind.  They will see that they are unwanted and leave like unwelcome visitors. 

I’m going to go and cultivate my garden now…thanks for stopping by!