We were blessed with about 7” of snow yesterday.
Even though I am not a skier (It’s been 7+ years since I strapped on the boots.), I enjoy January and February snow storms. Of course, living in Upstate New York means we have the equipment and experience to handle the snow storms without much fuss.
I took my dog for a walk last night as the storm wound down, and I stopped to talk to a neighbor. In the middle of the storm, his snow blower quit working, and he shared how two neighbors helped him finish clearing his driveway.
It reminded me that in day-to-day life, people are generally friendly and helpful.
This simple truth tends to be hard to believe because my TV and smartphone consistently tell a different kind of story–stories of deception, murder, and utter selfishness.
- My local evening news reports things going wrong, not things going right.
- My news app this morning led with the trial of a national figure, a warning about climate change, and America’s ‘hidden’ education crisis (The word hidden is a subtle trigger word in headlines. It implies there is some problem we know nothing about, and it could be nefarious.)
- Tonight’s broadcast TV line-up includes stories about a kidnapping, murder, and drug overdoses. All in an evening’s entertainment.
Why is this important to leadership?
You carry your collectively cultivated view of others into every interaction. Your collectively cultivated view is created by what you read, watch, listen to, and experience daily.
Therefore, the best leaders are intentional about what they feed their minds and focus on.
Since I have so much room for growth in this area, here are four ways I am trying to make progress in 2024.
1. Listen to nature and a positive podcast on my morning walk.
Our young, energetic dog requires a 30-minute walk first thing in the morning, which is also good for me. I listen to nature for the first 15 minutes of the walk. Then I listen to podcasts focusing on positivity, goals, mindset, and encouragement for the last 15 minutes.
2. Read, baby, read.
When I am at my healthiest, I read a lot of books. Books transport me to different places. They remind me of the great historical accomplishments of the past. They challenge me to think differently about the world around me.
3. Mindfully choose my entertainment.
I love sports, but even the drama surrounding sports can wear on me. Therefore, I have stopped consuming podcasts and TV shows where people argue and bicker. I also try to limit shows where the plots revolve around people wounding each other.
4. Help someone daily.
When I am at my worst, I think a lot about myself. When I am at my best, I help others. And there are a plethora of ways to help others. Smile. Look a clerk in the eye. Take out the garbage. Call and ask how someone is doing. Shovel a walk. Hold open a door. For me, there is something magical about taking the focus off myself and placing it on others.
One final thought.
Do people do bad things?
A customer has punched me. I’ve had another yell at me and call me incompetent. My car has been hit two times while parked on a street without anyone leaving a note.
But the fact that I can easily recall these isolated incidents should provide some perspective.