Life Lesson: You Have to Lean In to Life to Grow Your Capacity to Do More
I didn't have the facts that backed up my beliefs. I didn't start on the journey with the support of people cheering me on. I wasn't even sure when I had the thought that I could become a Marriott manager what the journey would even entail at first. But, somehow, none of that mattered to me at the time.
The vision of this possibility seemed to have grabbed me at a moment in my life when I knew that I would not settle for living below my potential and somehow I would figure out how to experience "less of" living below my potential and "more of" living up to my leadership potential.
Everything Is Possible Depending On How Much You Lean In
The simple thought of knowing what I wanted "more of" and "less of" became the catalyst for someone like me from a working class family breaking barriers and overcoming daunting odds to build a meaningful, successful and award-winning leadership career for more than 20 years during my corporate career.
Although, I was given the responsibility throughout my corporate career to train and develop leaders within the ranks, I took it to the next level after my first executive leadership promotion after the hotel's assistant manager relocated to Charlotte, NC after his wife's promotion.
Before he relocated, I informed my area manager that I wasn't going to replace him immediately. Instead, I wanted to experiment with this idea I had been harboring about building leaders without titles.
I wanted to see if I could build a team of leaders without titles who with a raise and additional responsibilities would deliver noteworthy results.
This experiment proved the validity of my idea with solid results.
My team and I learned that with additional training, clear expectations and cultivating a "oneness of purpose" vision that we could exceed our competitive market share percentage, raise room rates and deliver WOW customer service experiences, even after three hurricanes hit the coast of Wilmington, NC in 1996.
Because of our commitment to customer service especially during the hurricanes which inspired us to grill hot dogs and burgers at the hotel's pool during lunch time to feed our guests, use one of the employees boom box to play music and some of the staff who had kids stayed at the hotel with me and their kids play games with our guest kids until the electricity began to be restored. I was so happy that Sam's never closed all day for any of these storms.
Although my area manager required me to hire an assistant manager because he felt it was best the hotel had two managers on the property, and prevent me from burning out, what he didn't know was my experiment was transforming the motley crew of characters I had the privilege of working with into a high performance team.
In was during these challenging moments, we began to form the team that a year a half later would win four #1 awards out more than 300 hotels in the U.S. It was also during these challenging moments that our commitment to customer service helped us to secure return business by many of our "hurricane guests", their families and friends, year after year.
Are You Leaning In or Tipping Toe Around What's Possible?
You're already almost half way through the second month of this year.
Have you downloaded my new Life Visioning and Career Success Workbook, yet?
Are you clear about the three most important goals you want to achieve this year?
Have you broken them down into milestones and planned your execution with the end in mind?
Are you clear about the 90-day goals you need to accomplish in order to reach your three (3) most important goals?
Time is finite. As much as we would like to think that “someday” we’ll get around to doing what matters most to us, this is an illusion which often leads to living with regrets as we get older and begin to reflect on how we could have made more time for what matters most to us by deciding to not give time to that which didn’t increase our ability to grow and flourish.
You think you will always have time. As someone who has experienced the unexpected loss of several loved ones, I know this is far from the truth. Grief has a way of stripping away the scales on our eyes so that we see with new eyes what matters most in our life.
If you aren’t intentional about the experiences you want in every aspect of your life, it is likely that you will be successful in some areas of your life, whereas, in other areas you will have regrets unless you have rituals, routines or a structure that helps you to maintain perspective and "keep the main thing, the main thing".
Here's how Jeff Bezo's minimizes his regrets in life.
Lean Into Your Growth Zone With Intention
To overcome “settling for whatever life hands us,” we have to develop personal practices that reflect our intentions. For example, I’m a morning person. I make time to meditate on what I'm grateful for and how I plan to serve others, as well as reading a daily devotional and some pages out of a book that I'm reading during the month. I do this with the intention of showing up and engaging people from a state of gratitude, grace and love throughout my day.
Even with this intention, there are days when I miss the mark. I don’t beat myself up about it. I accept that the journey of my life will continue to provide me with teachable moments for me to grow.
While I strive to be a “champion of possibility” and live this truth, I’ve come to realize that I will not expand my influence to make a bigger difference in the lives of people without developing an expanded consciousness of how God sees the world and sees the potential within me.
This is what I know for sure. Everything we experience in life provides us with opportunities to embody more of our divine self. This requires us to awaken to the truth of our existence without judgment. Our assumptions about life are often dismantled during challenging experiences. The benefit to us: we gain new perspectives about ourselves and expand our beliefs about what is possible in our lives.
I won’t pretend that I know the areas of your life which you need to make time for what matters most to you, or, where you need to make the decision to stop giving time to that which is not adding to your greater good, but, I do know this, twelve months from today, you will have lived an additional 8760 hours and how you decided to live these hours will be reflected in your life, a year from now.
If you’re like me, you want to see positive change in your life from year to year. You don’t want to keep spinning your wheels and making no or little progress towards living the experiences you desire.
If this is true, it's time for you to be honest with yourself. You have to make personal commitments about what you stand for and what you won’t stand for. You have to get clear about what it is you truly want to experience in the next twelve months and create a plan that you feel compelled to execute on a daily basis to take your life to the next level. Download my new Life Visioning and Career Success Workbook.
No one can decide for us what matters most to us. We should never give anyone the power to do so. These values are personal and unique to us as our DNA. We have to be proactive towards establishing our intentions on a daily basis and identifying the mindset and behaviors that we need to practice and cultivate to manifest our intentions.
Living a meaningful and fulfilling life doesn’t happen by happenstance. On a daily basis, you and I have to lean into what matters most to us so that our lives emerge into the realization of our grandest intentions. Progress increases our happiness. The more progress we experience towards realizing the positive change we want in our lives, the happier we will become.
We have one life to live. We will experience success and setbacks, love and heartache. And through it all, the strength of our spirit will serve to show us how to remain openhearted to what is and brave hearted to express the courage to go forward. One step at a time. Trust the process.
Our spirit, soul, and body are refreshed through appreciation and our ability to lean into life, accepting what is while expanding our capacity to become more, do more and experience more. God is always expanding. We are created in his image, therefore, we should be expanding. Our greatest contribution on Earth is to collaborate with our soul’s expression of its brilliance.
Lean into life. Lean into the full expression of your brilliance. Think bigger, feel bolder and act braver by developing your faith and cultivating a success consciousness. As you do, you will discover new pathways to possibilities that are beyond your present fears and limitations.
I leave you with these words by Mark Nepo from his book The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be.
“…waking as human beings, where the human is finite and the being is infinite, there’s always more spirit in us than one life can carry. By our very nature, each of us is challenged to grow out of one self into another. We blossom and outgrow selves the way butterflies emerge from cocoons. Except that, being human, we have the chance to emerge from many cocoons. Mysteriously, saying yes is one of the ways we begin to emerge. Saying yes is how the infinite spirit we’re born with keeps moving through us into the world, redefining each time it emerges.”
With much love and appreciation,
P.S. I invite you to join me in a conversation about personal branding in my FREE Webinar "Make Your Mark" taking place Tuesday, February 16, 2021 from 11 am - 12 noon ET? Find Out More and Enroll Here.