Today’s challenge. Who’s in?
You know I love innovation.
And… you know I love questions.
So… when I came across this brilliant video by vid story-teller Jason Headley and innovation guru Bill O’Conner… I just had to share it.
So… how about you?
What questions drive your own innovations?
Whether it’s innovations (or improvements) at work… or at home… what questions are you asking yourself?
I’ve got a few favorites…
How could I improve ___________ incrementally?
Who could I be learning from?
How could we have fun as we ___________?
Yeah… those are some of my favs?
How about you? What questions get your creativity rolling? What questions get your mind cranking?
Click comments and share a few. I’d love to hear ‘em.
And remember… keep bringing the awesome. The world needs YOU!
PS – If you haven’t checked out Jason Headley’s work… you need to get familiar with it. He’s someone who’s bringing the awesome. Here’s another you might like… although I have NO idea what’s he’s talking about. And… for the record… I know guys talk about the nail too.
As we’re headed into Memorial Day weekend… I wanted to first and foremost thank the men and women in our armed forces and all of our veterans who have served our country! It’s because of YOU… that we live in a country where it is both safe and possible to dream big and achieve more! We are completely in your debt!
A Pearl of wisdom from a Veteran
So… as I was prepping for my Friday morning show on 107.1 fm… I thought it would be fitting to take a pearl of wisdom from a veteran and POW camp survivor. His name was Jim Stockdale.
Jim Collins in his book, “Good to Great” interviewed Jim Stockdale and as he did… he uncovered an incredible key to leadership (and life)!
See… Jim Stockdale was a decorated pilot for the U.S. Navy. He had the kind of career that they make movies about. But during a battle Stockdale was shot down, captured, beaten within an inch of his life and then thrown into the Hos Lo prison. This prison was notorious for it’s brutal treatment of it’s captives. In fact, most prisoners didn’t live longer than a year within it’s walls. However, Jim Stockdale lived for over 7 years on the confines of this freakishly nasty hole.
As a result, Jim Collins wanted to find out how a man could survive this ordeal and help others to do the same.
When he interviewed Stockdale, he uncovered what he later called “The Stockdale Paradox.”
Collins asked him how he coped with the brutalities of life as a POW. He asked about the mindset of Stockdale as well as those who didn’t survive.
As he did… Collins found out that Stockdale chose to live in a “tension.”
That tension was caused by having one foot solidly planted in a belief that he would not only survive his ordeal but that he would eventually thrive in life. At the same time, he also kept one foot planted in the “brutal realities of now.”
Standing in this tension was admittedly difficult but Stockdale believed it was not only the key to his survival… but that it was critical to him emerging from that horrible situation to live a long, healthy and fruitful life.
Having one foot in a belief… and one foot in the now… caused an inner-tension.
It was a paradox. But it was also critical.
Collins then asked him about the mindset of many of the soldiers who didn’t make it. Stockdale explained that often times the soldiers who didn’t survive would get caught up in one or the other sides of that “paradox.” They might get excited about an upcoming holiday like Christmas or the 4th of July. They’d tell themselves and others, “We’ll be free by Christmas! We just need to make it to Christmas.” But then Christmas would come and go… and they would quickly lose hope because their “now” hadn’t changed.
Or… others would get immersed in the brutality of the “now” with no belief in the future. They would only focus on the beatings and their horrible situation… and as a result… give up.
Instead… Stockdale stayed in that “paradox.”
Believing… AND dealing.
As a result, he figured out ways to use Morris Code to communicate with other prisoners when locked away in solitary confinement. He shared food and limited supplies with other prisoners… in order to keep a spirit of connectedness and partnership. He kept faith in his future but he also confronted the brutal facts of his current reality.
That inspires me.
How about you?
I’m happy to say that although I face some pretty significant challenges on a daily basis… all of that pales in comparison to the brutality of a POW camp.
Can I get an amen?
But this is wisdom we can apply to leadership… and to life.
We need to believe in our future… the future of our organizations… the future of country… the future of our families… etc., etc.
We need to believe… to our core… in our dreams and the dreams of others.
At the same time… we need to keep one foot solidly planted in the realities of the “now.”
We need to fight the good fight each day. Bring our best game. Pour out a cup of our best awesome in our work every day!
Again… can I get an amen?!?
A great example.
As I wrap up this post… I wanted to share an awesome example of what I’m talking about. (And how simple but profound living in this paradox can be.)
As I was walking into the radio station to do my morning segment… I noticed a woman in the parking lot moving towards the front door. She was hobbling and tentative. When she moved around her car I could see a large cast on right foot. It made her pace very slow and deliberate. We approached the building at almost the same time, so I stuck around to hold the door for her. As she came closer I could see that her cast had zebra print on it that matched her shirt perfectly. I smiled, held the door and noted that it was the first time I’d ever seen someone be able to “accessorize” their cast so adeptly. She smiled brightly and explained that she’d found zebra print duct tape and thought that she could “just make the most of it.”
I thought… BAM! Now THAT’s living the Stockdale Paradox!
Believing in the future… and living in the now!
How about you?
How might you live in that “paradox” today?
What could you do… to increase your clarity and belief in your future? What could you do to grow in your confidence that you will not only survive but thrive?
At the same time… what could you do to increase your engagement in the “now?” How might you focus on your current opportunities and challenges… just a bit more today?
What’s something you want to do… to recognize and boldly stand in that Stockdale Paradox… today?
Join in the convo… and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you!
All the best,
(WARNING: This may be a caffeine-induced RANT… or it may be something more. You decide.)
Q: How do we want to encourage the next generation?
Over the past few years… I’ve been wildly blessed to get to speak on more and more college campuses AND to be a part of the rock star event called Succeed Faster (designed for high-caliber college students and recent grads).
Well… I was able to talk to one of my favorite rock stars yesterday… as she’s getting ready to graduate from college this coming weekend. She (like many soon-to-be graduates) is standing in the tension of feeling excitement and fear. You know the place. Many of us have been there. Feeling that Stockdale Paradox of believing fully in your future AND wrestling with the tough stuff of “the now.”
I’ll admit that our conversation came at the end of a very long and robust day. I listened but I didn’t bring my best game. I encouraged… but I didn’t bring a lot of truth. This morning… I felt nudged to send a follow up email. I just wanted to throw some ideas out there to both meet her where she was at AND push her whole-heartedly into her awesome-yet-scary future.
Here’s a part of the email I sent her:
It was sure great to talk with you yesterday.
I’m both proud OF you and excited for you.
One additional thought… and it’s a bit heavy… BUT I wanted to share it.
You started out in college a small fish in a BIG pond. Over time… and because of your commitment to “bring the awesome” and M.A.S.H… you became a BIG fish in a small pond.
You OWNED it because you brought your best and delivered.
Now… you’re about to enter the HUGE pond of the open market.
You may feel like a very tiny tiny fish in a HUGE freeeeegin’ pond now. And that’s natural. TOTALLY natural.
But hey… keep swimming. Keep bringing the awesome. Stay committed to working your butt off and doing what you do best.
The world doesn’t owe you anything… but you know that.
You have to go and make your mark in that new BIG pond. But you can do it. Just know it’s going to feel like a big pond for a while.
Stay committed. Keep bringing your best. Keep doing the stuff that no one else is willing to do to pursue their dreams.
I promise you… as you do… you’ll become the BIG fish you were created to be.
AND you’ll find waters that are going to be an awesome fit for you!
You were made for this sista.
Dream FREEEEEGIN huge… and go after it.
I can tell you that when I wrote this… I hadn’t intended to blog about it.
BUT… I’ve been plagued by a question ever since I hit “send.”
The question is:
Q: HOW CAN WE BEST ENCOURAGE THIS NEXT GENERATION?
This isn’t an easy question… but it’s an important one.
We need to be talking about this. We need to be intentional about this.
- We need to encourage AND bring truth.
- We need to hug AND push.
- We need to protect them less and we need to hold them capable more.
Their future is dependent on it. Our future is dependent on it.
But… how do we do it?
Think about it.
In this next couple of weeks… how can you encourage a graduate?
- How might you hug and push?
- How might you meet them where they’re at… but not let them stay there?
- How might you help them to dream bigger about their future AND also prepare to work their butts off in the here and now?
Think about it… but also share your ideas.
Comment and let us know what you think might be the best ways to encourage this next generation.
Thanks for being in this together,
We’re partnering with the Martin Heerema Entrepreneurship Program and the Pella Community Foundation to bring the BIG Dream Gathering to Central College in Pella, Iowa!
Here’s the specifics:
- Registration: 6 to 6:30 pm
- Inspirational Message from me: 6:30 to 7:15 pm
- Dreaming BIG together: 7:15 to 9 pm
- NOTE: You can come for part or ALL of the event!
- Graham Conference Center on Central’s campus (click here for a map)
WHO CAN COME:
- This event is free and open to the public! So YOU are welcome to attend!
- Thanks to the partnership with the Martin Heerema Entrepreneurship Program and the Pella Community Foundation… the BIG Dream Gathering is FREE to attend!
- For those who are new to the BIG Dream Gathering… and you’re wondering what it’s all about… here’s a short video to give you a taste of what you’ll experience when you attend!
We can’t wait!
We can’t wait to see you there. We can’t wait to dream big with you! And we can’t wait to see what dreams (big or small) are sparked!
I’m wildly honored and excited to be a part of DMACC’s renowned Celebrate Innovation Week!
ciWeek allows people to meet, acquire knowledge, and become inspired by some extremely innovative people. ciWeek 2013 will focus on Building a Better Future (with a futuristic World’s Fair theme).
The event will bring together speakers such as Daymond John, founder of F.U.B.U. and a shark on ABC’s Shark Tank; John Gaeta, Academy Award-winning visual effects creator for movies such as The Matrix Trilogy and Speed Racer; and Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, inventors of the Soccket and founders of Uncharted Play.
Thanks to the support of some fantastic sponsors ciWeek is free to attend and most presentations are open to the public.
WHEN: Monday, March 4th through Thursday, March 7th
Some noted highlights:
I’ll be speaking on Monday night from 6 to 7 pm. I’ll be speaking on Innovation’s Secret Weapon: Employee Engagement. This session is free and open to the public.
On Tuesday night from 6 to 7 pm, Adam Carroll will be speaking the power of relationships and how they can be at the core of innovation.
On Wednesday, co-founders of Uncharted Play will be speaking from 1 to 2:20 on “Socket: From Idea to Innovation.“
On Thursday, FUBU founder and Shark Tank’s Daymond John will be speaking from 1 to 2:20 on “5 Steps to Become a Shark“
Again… thanks to some great sponsors… this event is free to attend and it’s open to the public. NOTE: Some presentations may have limited seating, so you’ll need to check the website for availability.
WHERE: DMACC West Des Moines Campus
All events will be held at the West Des Moines DMACC campus. If you haven’t visited this building… you should. It’s an innovative feat in and of itself!
SPECIFICS ON MY TALK:
ENGAGE! How Inspiring Full Employee Engagement Can Be Your Secret Weapon for Innovation
Although people are choosing to stay in their jobs longer… actual employee engagement is at an all time low! In fact, a recent Gallup Poll found that 54% of employees across the country said they were not engaged in their work. And an additional 17% identified themselves as “knowingly disengaged.”
Do the math… that’s 71% of employees that are either not engaged or knowingly disengaged!
That’s not a challenge… that’s a PROBLEM!
With “ENGAGE!” I present a FOUR STEP PROCESS that leaders can utilize to dramatically increase their own level of engagement… as well as help their teams to do the same! Which will also ignite innovating thinking and new solutions!
- Uncover one key concept that undermines any new training initiative and help you to overcome it!
- Offer specific stories and case studies that will inspire leaders but also give them specific strategies to use immediately!
- Show how tying an employee’s bigger goals and dreams to their daily work can make a significant impact on their focus, dedication and loyalty!
- Provide a core concept to help leaders to “control what you can control” which will make the the difference on a leader’s performance as well as help them (and their teams) to overcome the grinding stress that can cause disengagement!
- And much much more!
These concepts, strategies and stories will help you to engage at new levels and help your teams to be more fully engaged too!
Think about it.
What could happen if your leaders and your employees were performing with a high level of contribution AND a high level of satisfaction in their work? What could it do for innovation? What could it do for generating new ideas and better solutions?
Let’s find out on Monday, March 4th!
I can’t wait to see you there!
Sometimes we’re asked…
“What is it like to participate in the BIG Dream Gathering?”
If you’re asking this same question… check out this video. It will give you a taste of what we call “The BIG Dream Gathering experience.”
Oh… and whether you know what you would write down on your dream sheets or not…
Mitch Matthews… the co-founder of the BIG Dream Gathering will kick off the Gathering with some inspiring stories and some guidance.
He’ll talk about the power of what can happen when
people give themselves permission to dream big…
and the amazing things that can happen when
people dream big together!
So… plan on attending to the BIG Dream Gathering when it comes to your area… and just see what happens with your own BIG dreams, as well as the BIG dreams of your community!
What are people saying about the BIG Dream Gathering experience?
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes – the spark of engagement when people work together on big dreams. Everyone should experience the BIG Dream Gathering! The process is remarkable. As people reach for a bigger dream they are also invited to invest in the success of others. What a marvelous model for breaking through barriers, dialing in and connection.” – Dondi Scumaci – Best Selling Author and Speaker
“The BIG Dream Gathering experience is great! Ours was an awesome mix of people all gathered helping each other get started on making their dreams come true.” – Connie Hansen – The University of Northern Iowa
“The BIG Dream Gathering is infectious with hope and positive communication.” – Scott Jarvis – West Bank
What are people saying about Mitch Matthews as a speaker?
”Mitch Matthews was our opening speaker and it was the best talk we’ve had in the 41 years of holding this conference!” – Harris F. Seidel – Co-founder – Association of Boards of Certification
“Mitch Matthews was a smashing success at our conference. He goes beyond motivating. He inspires!” – Jimi Coplen – Texas Midwest Community Network
“I would recommend Mitch Matthews to anyone needing a high-impact and high-energy speaker!” – Michelle Hisabeck – Meeting Professionals International
Last week… I mentioned I was conducting an experiment in my business.
I was testing out a new strategy. It wasn’t a HUGE shift. It wasn’t wildly exciting. In fact… this experiment had to do with some of by own business systems.
Part of the experiment went better than I thought. One thing went worse. But I learned from all of it. Part of it pushed me out of my comfort zone… part of it reinforced some things I was very comfortable with.
But… in the end… the experiment was a good thing. I learned some new things.
As a result…
- I’m going to tweak something.
- I’m going to keep doing four other things.
- And I’m NEVER going to do one thing. (That’s a story for another blog post)
How about you?
What are you feeling called to experiment with today?
Need some help? Need some inspiration?
I shared more on this subject on my weekly radio segment. Check it out by clicking here.
How about it?
What if you picked something to experiment with?
What might it be for you?
What if you tried something?
Maybe it’s a small but significant shift in your own approach to your work? Maybe it’s a new sport or hobby? Maybe it’s reaching out in a new way?
Or maybe it’s something to move you a little closer to one of your big dreams or goals?
Why not pick something and experiment.
See where it takes you. Then let us know.
Can’t wait to hear!
Keep dreaming big and helping others to do the same,
I’m in the midst of an experiment today.
I’m intentionally trying something new.
Well… honestly… it’s a new twist on something I’ve been doing for years.
I’m pushing my boundaries. I’m risking falling. In fact… I’m even risking looking a little silly.
I’ve set parameters for myself. It’s risky but I’ve limited the risk.
It’s a “step of faith” not a “blind leap of faith.”
But yeah… I’m trying something new today… all in the name of nudging myself out of a comfort zone.
How about you?
How long has it been since you set up an “experiment” for yourself?
What might you experiment with this week?
How could you push yourself… just a little bit?
Come on… join me.
Let’s experiment together!
Who’s with me?