Understanding Time, Schedules and Focus

Time is slippery.

There are some seasons where time drags by and other seasons where time flies.

They say time flies when you are having fun, most likely because you become distracted in the focus of what you are enjoying, which makes time move quickly.

“I didn’t have enough time to finish,” says the high school student who wasn’t disciplined enough to use their time wisely because the project was boring to them.

“I simply ran out of time,” says the man enthralled in his hobby and didn’t schedule appropriately.


Time ticks by the same way it has since the beginning. It is the most consistent thing in life. And yet, it becomes an excuse for most not because time changes, but rather because of our own self-control or lack of planning.

Quite possibly, our work has nothing to do with time, but rather with focused engagement. When we don’t enjoy what we are doing (and have a lack of passion) then time becomes an excuse for us. “We ran out of time” means that we put it off until the last minute because we were dreading it and thus ran out of time to hit the deadline.

When we do love our work then we can become obsessed by it and miss appointments because of our focus.

How do you manage time? Are you bored with your work or enthralled? For most, it is a mixture. Some hate administrative work, while some love it. Some love to brainstorm, while others abhor it.

I absolutely dread administrative work and usually put it off until the stack of receipts becomes the leaning tower of expenses. That is when I deal with it. Surely there is a better way.

Here are some thoughts that you can take or leave:


  • What % of your work do you love and what % do you despise? Make a list of good and the bad. Then put a % by each section. Do you love your job % wise more than you despise it?
  • What areas do you find are difficult to do because either you are not good at that part of your job or you despise it? Is there a practical way to delegate or deal with those areas?
  • Do you use excuses about time when it is really an issue of your focus?


Admit the areas you are bad at, make a plan to delegate or commit to getting them done and watch your productivity increase.

It is not time’s fault that you missed your deadline. You are either in the wrong job, wrong role or you are obsessed by what you are doing and forgot to come up for air.


When you get real with time you will find you have enough time to get what you need to get done.

The Two Types of People To Understand

If you want to hire the right people, this post is for you.

If you are trying to understand why some are filled with drama, this will help.

If you are struggling with frustrations within you or with someone else, then dive in to this thought.

There are two styles of people at the end of the day. Which type are you?

  1. Responsive people or
  2. Resistant people

I have been both. And, there are some days that I am both.

Responsive people realize when they have made a mistake and seek forgiveness and reconciliation because they are secure in who they are.

Resistant people either don’t see their shortfalls or make excuses for them as they blame other people because of their fear of being seen as weak.


How do you know whether someone is responsive or resistant? Watch their life. What happens when they make a mistake? Do they blame others, become defensive or seek to make amends?

Have you ever seen a professional sports figure admit they made a mistake by raising their hand while saying, “my bad!” That is a responsive player who is humble enough to admit their mistakes in front of millions of people.

The resistant player points a finger at their teammate with the words, “c’mon man!” He is suggesting the other player caused the error that millions of fans just watched on replay.


Responsive leaders gain respect over time.

Resistant leaders obtain scorn over time.


Resistant leaders are simply insecure. They are afraid that people will think less of them as so they create a persona of superiority and stubbornness. They blame, fight, yell and curse all to keep the image that they are not weak.

Again, I have been that guy. Thankfully, that guy has been dying in me (though not fully dead).

Responsive leaders are secure at their core. They have become confident in who they are and who they are not. They are not trying to prove themselves and walk with a limp, as they have been humbled a bit in life. Secure, confident and humble.

I’m tired of resisting pride, which is weakness.

I’m ready for responsive leadership, which is strength.

How about you?

Fight for your life to be a responsive leader.

Start the Right Way

How you start your day matters.

Track stars spend hours practicing how to get off the blocks. By starting strong they can shave off crucial seconds to beat their personal best.

How a team starts a game can affect the end result.

Starting well is important. Are you practicing how to start well?

Here are some tips for you to consider.

1. The best way to start your day is preparing the night before. Go to bed on time and in the right frame of mind. That gives you nice momentum for the day ahead.

2. Don’t eat after 8PM if you can help it. Late night digestion can negatively affect your sleep.

3. When you wake up have a first thought. For me it is a conversation with God or a word or phrase.

4. Make shower time a time to pray or tell yourself positive thoughts.

5. Use a devotion or reading that inspires you and prepares you. I have a number of different books along with a favorite Bible I use. Sometimes I journal as well.

6. Connect with your family or spouse if possible. Encourage them in some way.

7. Make drive time powerful. Use the time to get your mindset right.

8. Help other people start their days. When you first see people, don’t harp on them with some task request. Let them warm up.

9. When you get to your desk, start with something that inspires and motivates.

10. Have a song or video or a book handy when you need a pep talk to yourself.

Remember, you are responsible for yourself. When you have the right mindset, everyone else benefits. And that all depends on you starting your day well.

Strong strong, lead strong.

Have a great day!

Have You Told Them?

I recently had a conversation with an executive who described in detail his frustrations about one of his leaders, a vice president who wasn’t getting it. The CEO was upset as he described in detail what his vice president was doing or wasn’t doing with the people he was leading.

As I listened to him a number of questions bubbled to the top of my mind.

First, I asked him, “So, why is he still on your team?

He shared with exasperation that the guy held a certain competency that was hard to find. This vice president couldn’t connect with others, was a horrible communicator and was always defensive according to the CEO. However, the Vice President was the best in the industry in his field and he needed his competency and the reputation this guy held within the industry.

Side note – I hear this almost every time I talk with a CEO about a specific person on their team. Someone who is a cancer to the team, but is so valuable because of a certain competency or industry knowledge. It is a catch 22 most of the time.

The next question I asked threw him for a curve. As I asked it I didn’t realize how powerful the question was and is.

The Second question I asked was, “Have you told him?” I was simply asking, “have you explained your frustrations, discussed what it is like to be on the other side of him and worked with him to challenge him to be the leader you want him to be?”

This Executive looked at me, stunned as his mind was processing the question. His response was “well I need him to be on the team and so we just put up with him, but we don’t know how much longer we can do that. If I told him what I think he would get so defensive. So, I just work around him.”

The CEO was allowing this Vice President to lead the culture of his division. The executive wasn’t challenging, but rather hinting. He wasn’t confronting because he was afraid of losing and so he just put up with the drama and worked around it with the other executives who felt the same way. This Vice President is a drain on everyone around them, but holds a power card of experience and industry knowledge like a blackmail over the company.

Here is the big idea. If you are having issues with someone but haven’t gone to them directly, to the source, then you are wasting time, spreading slander and being an abdicator. IF you really want the best for the other person or the team, then go to the source and challenge the person with the right level of support.

If, on the other hand, you want nothing to change or you want to whine to other people about the people on your team, continue to not go to the source or deal directly with the situation.

Remember, if you are the leader of a team and have responsibility then you are the culture keeper. If you abdicate it to the person you are afraid of confronting then you have created the culture that you are trapped in today.

Do the right thing. Challenge those that need to be challenged, while fighting for their best. Tell them where they really stand. It isn’t fair for that person to continue to do what they are doing simply because they are unaware of the drama they are spreading. Tell them and Liberate those you lead.

3 Ways to Set Your Mind Up for Success

Have you ever heard an athlete say this after a dismal performance? “I didn’t the have the right mindset today. I just wasn’t ready.”

When I hear that I think, “you have had all week! How could you not be ready?” And then I am reminded of my own life before a big speech or event I am leading or a presentation I am delivering and suddenly I realize how hard it is to frame our minds correctly so that our attitudes and emotions are positioned to help us be the best we can be.

Mindset means the “established set of attitudes towards something.”

If I am frustrated towards someone and have not addressed it correctly then my mindset is going to be off towards them.

If I went to bed later than expected watching ‘junk food’ television with no meaning then the chances of my mindset being off go up the next day.

If I am not recharged appropriately then I might be susceptible to a sour mood and those who are around me may suffer.

When we frame our mind correctly the chance of our success in a certain moment or event goes up. That is why skier’s spend a long period of time visualizing their routes before they ski. They begin racing in their minds before they race. Most superior athletes do this. In fact, there is a whole industry of sports psychology that help athletes frame their minds correctly.

So let me be an amateur psychologist and recommend three things that you can do each day to frame your mindset to become successful and productive:

1. A healthy mindset starts the night before. Eliminate junk TV, it adds zero value. Instead, choose to read a great biography or have a great conversation with someone you respect. Dabble in a hobby or work on a enlivened project. We set ourselves up the night before. If you want a great day tomorrow, start it tonight.

2. To be successful, you need to be fully recharged. Great leaders know how to lead themselves. It is called self-control. Do you know how you recharge? If so, spend more time there getting your batteries full. It is hard to start the day with a cell phone battery at 10%. The same is true with us. Make sure that you get 6+ hours of sleep. It is your responsibility to be recharged, so don’t undermine yourself.

3. If you want to thrive then you must deal with the negative directly. When I am writing books I have to have my inbox cleaned out so that I don’t feel the pressure of people waiting for me to respond. The same is true with mindset. If there is a negative relationship out there then go to the source and deal directly with it so that it doesn’t continue to dominate your thoughts 24/7.

One last tip that may be helpful for you to frame your mindset correctly. Say these words out loud right now, ‘Trade Up’. When you are doing something that doesn’t bring life, but simply just is, choose to Trade Up to something better.

Instead of a rubbish TV show, Trade Up to an inspiring movie.

Instead of junk food that saps you, choose a tasty treat that has protein.

Instead of wasting time, Trade Up to a project.

Instead of lingering at night, Trade Up and get the sleep your body needs.

Your mindset is directly related to your self-control. Will you say these words after work, “I didn’t have the right mindset today. I just wasn’t ready,” or will it sound like this “today was amazing! We knocked it out of the park.”

Your reality is directly tied to the consequences of your actions that came directly from your patterns and your mindset. Choose correctly and you will string together a series of wins that could alter the course of your career. Choose to not be ready and you will simply fit in with the crowd and live a normal life.

May I encourage you to Trade Up today!

Liberation, Connectivity and a Big Announcement

Leadership is a lifestyle.

It’s the intentional act of challenging and supporting others to accomplish a desired outcome. When you lead out of an intentional lifestyle then every person in your life should experience your support and challenge.

When you are supporting and challenging those you lead then your respect from others – your influence – grows considerably. These types of leaders are called Liberators and they are a special breed of secure, confident and humble people.

Now, here is where the big announcement comes in (big announcement at the end for dramatic purposes!).

For the past two years I have been working with Steve Cockram and our GiANT Worldwide team and associates to build an infrastructure, intentionally, to help leaders learn how to support and challenge, as Liberators, more effectively. Here is a glimpse of our infrastructure build out:

  • We have been producing original, fresh content – see www.giantworldwide.com
  • We’ve developed a leadership language through the use of visual tools.
  • We have introduced an apprenticeship system that is similar to a lean manufacturing for human capital.
  • We have introduced smaller groups to help organizations understand how to incorporate leadership into their companies.
  • And we have apprenticed over 50 leaders to train other leaders and organizations from Hawaii to Minnesota to Florida to London. And, we are looking for more leaders who want to build a business and serve leaders globally.
  • We have created a world-class apprenticeship program to help leaders learn how to do this themselves inside their organizations – see www.executivecore.info for more detail.

After 12 years of running leadership organizations I feel like we are finally on to something that is sticky simple with scaleable and sustainable pieces that work. In fact, we have been testing this in the big corporates, the small mom & pops, the mid-sized corporations as well as government, non-profits and churches and here are the two words that sum up our two year build out – IT WORKS.

No surprise. When you apprentice people, pass things on to others, become consistent and train up leaders who want to support and challenge others to be better leaders through a simple, scaleable system, it will work.

So here is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT. We just signed a two-book deal with Wiley Publishers in New York. I am thrilled to begin writing again. As of today I am 4 chapters in to a powerful book that will help people in general learn how to be present, connect more effectively with others and learn how to implement rest with work/life balance. For those who have experienced and implemented the Gears, you know how effective it is.

The due date for the first one is March 1, which will be out then in the fall. The second book, which I can’t wait to share, has the chance to reset the team structure of organizations, is due August 15. That said, I am going to have a busy year of writing and our team is busy serving.

So, if anyone wants to book speaking, it is probably best to do it now in the early days. You can email amy.norton@giantworldwide.com to get details on speaking.

If anyone wants to follow along with our mission of helping leaders become leaders worth following, build a team of leaders worth following and lead organizations that everyone wants to work with then you can do that at www.giantworldwide.com/blog. It is a pure leadership blog and real meaty.

My blog will be a bit light as I have a lot of writing to do, but no fretting, I will add life when appropriate.

Thanks to all of you for your friendship and partnership in raising up Liberators that change leadership culture in every sector and city of the world. Let’s do that together!