What I Learned on my Summer Vacation

Key Point: We all have superhero powers! We might not realize it but our superpowers are so abundant and impactful. We have an unlimited ability to zap people with them. Let’s use them positively more often. We also need to stop and get to ground level to understand that we are being presented with superhero signals all the time. The replenishment from a holiday is absolutely necessary to more effectively give and receive these superhero powers. That’s what I learned on this summer vacation.

My vacation started with about 20 people I work with surprising and overwhelming me with a WOW! They each sent me reasons, on Fri. July 24, why they admired me as a leader. I was blown away by their generosity of spirit and care. We all need “Big Head Days” (a beautifully descriptive term developed by one of my teammates) and these wonderful people gave me a very BIG HEAD Day… Thank you!! You have no idea the superhero power you have by being generous of spirit.

During this vacation, my wife, children and grandchildren gave me the most wonderful milestone birthday celebration. They used their superhero power of love in a way that seared my heart forever. Thank you, my sweet ones.

And during this same vacation our 1-year-old granddaughter unknowingly used her naive and developing superpower of unbounded curiosity. Just watching her explore everything around her reminded me that everyday we have something new and wonderful presented to us. And our 8-year-old grandson used his superhero power of unbiased respect and inclusion when he emphasized (listening to the radio newscast as we were driving together) that the Boy Scouts did the right thing allowing gay scout leaders to be part of their community. He also told me he would recommend me to his friends as a great gramps when I explained how the net promoter score worked (8-year-olds may have unlimited superhero powers, haha).

Ironically on the 25th of July, I received an uninvited and unpleasant email from someone who had very critical things to say about the consequences of our decision to sell the company I was CEO of for eight years. And that’s why our superhero powers of love and abundance are so important. We all need to draw on our Big Head files to keep things in perspective.

Character Moves:

  1. When we tell people with genuine care and love why and how they are important to us, we apply what I believe are truly superhero powers. And the best thing is that we have an unlimited amount of that power to give.
  1. Just do it. Apply your superpowers of care and love, you can never run out. It can never be too much. You will make a difference to others that you will likely never fully appreciate.

Superhero powers in The Triangle,

Lorne

One Millennial View: I find it interesting that people seem to get unnerved when someone else is perpetually happy. Haven’t you heard that? “Oh Susie is so annoying, she’s always smiling.” Uh, no, Susie just doesn’t need to project her own issues (which of course she has too), when it’s not the proper outlet. She’s being courteous. Unfortunately, it’s almost “cooler” to join the glum masses, or discover a talking point that invokes outrage. I don’t mean to suggest living uninformed, but sometimes “ignorance” can be such a positive state of mind. The complimentary, understanding, giving, and sometimes “indifferent” people are living the best lives. These days, society is very quick to utilize the unfortunate “superpower” of being a keyboard warrior with the ability to take someone down (via Social Media, or anything else) when they can. Yes, it’s a lot easier to do that than build your own self up. But, when someone is up on the totem pole, people can’t wait to dethrone him or her. It can be disgusting. Truth is, it is far easier to be abundant, less cynical, and engage kindly than the alternative. If people woke up with the intention of complimenting someone instead of searching for something negative to chat about at the water cooler, well, our workdays might be less entertaining but we also might turn out a few more superheroes.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis.

Become a Giving Tree

Key Point: Lets intentionally give more of ourselves. It’s that simple, and obviously hard to do for many of us. Tony Robbins is a life coach and bestselling author who has published five books in 14 languages. If you aren’t already familiar with his work, take a look at his long list of awards and accomplishments. You get the point: Robbins is very successful in many ways, not the least being financially. 

Robbins is sharing his wealth by writing a personal check that’ll feed 50 million people in 2015 through Feeding America. That’s a “wow!” Feeding America is the largest and (many consider) it the most effective hunger relief organization. It’s hard to believe 47 million people, including 17 million children in America go to bed every night unsure if they’re going to have a meal the next day. 

As a very young man, Robbins was literally broke and destitute. He recalls a day when he used $17 dollars out of his last $20 bucks to help another person. Robbins vividly remembers that moment because the next day he unexpectedly received a check in the mail from someone who owed him money. He says, “That’s the day that scarcity ended in me. And that didn’t mean I didn’t have more ups and downs financially. I had plenty of those but I never ever went back to that place of being angry with somebody else who had more or blaming other people. Whether they got what they did fairly or unfairly, who the hell am I to say? What I want to do is focus instead on being a blessing in people’s lives. That if I can find a way every day to do something to add more value for other people then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. Just like you don’t worry about taking a breath whether oxygen is going to be there. You don’t ask the question, you know it’s going to be there. I figured if I left my life that way where I spontaneously did what was right consistently I wouldn’t have to worry and I haven’t another day since. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have stressful times but I haven’t gone back to that place of scarcity.” 

On another note, my seatmate on a recent flight told me about his grandparents. His grandmother had passed away and he was retuning from her funeral. His grandparents were married for 73 years. They jointly worked as school janitors until they were in their 90’s. Every year for most of their married life, they collected bottles and cans from the ditches of local Lethbridge, Alberta highways and as a result gave thousands of dollars annually to a Lethbridge charity. One might argue that as janitors they never had enough money, but as giving people there were as wealthy as a Gates or Buffett

This week our 7-year-old second grade grandson, Logan, asked his mom if they could create a giving tree for the homeless that populate his community. He had heard the story from his Auntie of someone doing something similar to this in New York. So, he and his mom collected and bought things that the homeless might need, packaged them in see through plastic bags and hung them on what Logan dubbed as the “Giving Tree” in a park near their home.

photo 1Just as Logan and his mom finished hanging their gifts, a homeless man, shivering in the wet Seattle cold, helped himself to hat and mitts that were hung on the tree. I talked to Logan about this experience and his sense of personal goodwill in helping others was palpable. What a beautiful, everlasting sense of generosity. As Robbins notes, “giving without any sense of reciprocation results in a spiritual shift.” Thank you Logan (and his mom). 

Character Moves: 

  1. Each of us is wired to be a literal “giving tree.” Although, sometimes we lose our way and we need a reminder. So just make it part of you to GIVE more. It doesn’t have to be a lot. However, the research notes that if we make sincere, intentional giving as a regular part of our life, we flat out feel better about ourselves and the world we live in.
  1. Think about five minutes of giving a day. Wharton professor, Adam Grant, encourages us to think of doing “5 minute favors,” a concept made famous by serial entrepreneur Adam Rifkin. Five minute favors could include things like making introductions, giving feedback, providing recommendations for others, etc. Grant emphasizes how spending just five minutes to help someone can go along way in building relationships too.
  1. Ask others what they’re working on, and give accordingly. Grant’s advice to people who want to become givers, and really add value to the life of others is to pay attention to what people need, what they are working on, and what keeps them up at night. We often ask people “How are you doing?” but don’t really ask them, “What are you working on?” Grant believes that the latter question is where givers should begin, because once you know this, you can easily offer to help them if it’s within your expertise, or connect them with someone you know.

Become that Giving Tree in The Triangle,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: Sometimes charity or “giving” to organizations seems to be “out of sight, out of mind,” and something that’s easy for a millennial to put off for now. Since we’re all likely holiday shopping, a lot of cool merchandise you may buy for loved ones can also be attached to giving back to good causes, like these somewhat trendy Lokai bracelets that donate 10 percent of their profits to charitable alliances. Financial contributions aside, five-minute favors are extremely tangible… Start by thanking a vet, fire fighter, or police officer for their service… That goes a long way.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Playing Leadership ‘Small Ball’ to Win!

Key Point: Perhaps people spend too much time looking exclusively for the big wins to advance their careers. Certainly, exposure and a proven reputation for achieving great results are important and ultimately necessary for career progression. However, so many people have their head on a swivel looking for that big hit or connection that they might not give sufficient attention to the many little things that differentiate themselves on value. In baseball, the equivalent is playing “small ball,” concentrating on doing all the basics versus mostly trying hit the home run.

I recently read comments from two married couples celebrating 81 and 88 years of marriage (Yup, no typo… More than 80 years living with the same person) :). While no one really knows the formulae for marriage success these days, one common thing in these two relationships was “playing marriage small ball,” attending to the respectful little things between each other.

I believe the same opportunity applies to leadership. People may not give doing little stuff the attention required. It’s like an athlete that doesn’t fully compete until the whistle blows, finish line crossed, or practice ends etc. The last few minutes or steps of any process are often most important, and for some reason (usually mental), we pull back or step out rather than up. Let me give you a few very practical examples:

1. You come home tired and you haven’t given anyone recognition for a few days, but instead of hitting the couch, you take time to write out three recognitions.

2. You are going to a company holiday party and you know how much energy it takes to be present. You want to rest on the taxi ride to the event, but you take out the email and go through everyone’s names again.

3. You know how important it is to acknowledge people personally… You see an article in a newspaper that could be very valuable to a colleague…it’s a distraction to your Sunday reading, but you find the link, and forward it to them… Etc, etc… All just wee examples of “playing leadership small ball.”

Character Moves:

  1. Ask yourself how good you are at leadership “small ball?” Are you always looking to add just a little more value without expecting reciprocation? Or do you find that too mentally exhausting? Why?
  2. If you think it’s of use, consider playing just a little more “small ball” in your business and personal life. I’m not talking about anything too obsessive but just a few more things to finish the “daily game” on a high note. Finish strong. Identify five or six practical examples for yourself and just do it.
  3. Remember not to expect anything in return. Be a “giver” not a “matcher,” as Adam Grant advises. Enjoy the satisfaction of adding more value to other people every day in little ways too. Like I say, “you’re worth it.”

Playing small ball in The Triangle,

Lorne

 

Give Up Your Mitts This Christmas

Key Point: I want to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

In the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to retell a story from when my dad, Leo Rubis, was dying in the palliative care unit, first posted here in May, 2010. It’s the perfect example of living with Character this season.

My mom gets a call from a friend of my dad who is in her late 80′s. She insists on visiting my dad in the hospital to say goodbye before he dies. So she talks her nurse into driving some 60 miles in the dead of a Western Canadian Winter so she can get to his bedside. Why?

Apparently some 80 plus years ago, my dad and his neighbor friend, Alice, the lovely gal referred to above, had to walk three miles to and from school. One miserable blizzard, with frigid temperatures below -30 degrees, found my dad and Alice struggling to walk home. Alice said her hands were so cold she was weeping in pain. Her mitts got wet sitting on the classroom radiator and froze along with her hands on the trek home. My dad, 7-years-old at the time, gave Alice his mitts to wear instead. She never forgot that generosity.

Character Move:

  1. Don’t forget to “give up your mitts” sometimes. You may get a hug 80 years later. Your generosity matters.

Merry Christmas, 

Lorne

Lorne Rubis

Lorne Rubis

The constant in Lorne’s diverse career is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports ...
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Character Triangle

Our character is exclusively ours. We define it by how we think and what we do. I believe that acting with Character is driven by what I call the Character Triangle.

What, exactly, is the Character Triangle (CT)?

The CT describes and emphasizes three distinct but interdependent values:

Be Accountable: first person action to make things better, avoiding blame.
Be Respectful: being present, listening, looking again, focusing on the process.
Be Abundant: generous in spirit, moving forward, minimizing the lack of.

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Be Accountable

Be Respectful

Be Abundant

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