Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Try New Things

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Try New Things

This week I am wrapping up my #FailForwardFebruary series. February is the month where the most goals made at the beginning of the year fail. While failure can be disappointing it doesn’t have to be that way. Through daily inspirational posts I attempted to change the conversation about failure. I want people to see failure as a critical step towards success. Every failure is one step closer to success … I think of it it as failing forward!

As I was reflecting on this past month I started thinking about all of the leaders who weren’t afraid to try new things despite the risk of failure. There are countless leaders who decided to get past their fear and just try. It made me think about a Shakira song that I frequently hear when running and working out called Try Everything. Just read these lyrics from the chorus:

Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it wrong
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail
I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail

That last line has really resonated with me for the past year-and-a-half as I have been changing my life and trying new things. It has stuck with me throughout #FailForwardFebruary. And I hope that it is a way that I and other leaders can continue to view the world.

Yes, you might fail, but you might not. You might succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Even if you do fail you will be failing forward and you will be proud of yourself! Every great achievement starts with a decision to try.

The decision to try is something that has been very important to me over the past 20 months of my life. I have decided to try a lot of things and have a lot of achievements I am proud of as I worked to change from a life of obesity and self-doubt to a life of fitness and self confidence. I know I say it a lot, but I finished a half marathon just 16 months after I was 325 pounds! I discovered that I have superpowers I didn’t know existed. I know I can accomplish bigger things than I ever thought possible. I just have to set a goal and take that first step. Then I have to use project management to stay the course.

This is why I have decided to take another big step. In just a few weeks I am going to release my first book. This book shares the story of how I used project management to lose over 100 pounds in under a year and the lessons I learned along the way.

Will this book be a success and will tons of people buy it? Maybe. Will it fail and sell zero copies. Maybe. But, you know what, I took the risk and I tried. Not matter the result I know that I did it. So I am already successful!

If you want to hear more about when the book is ready please sign-up for my weekly email at OperationMelt.com/mail/

Call to Action: that dream that’s inside you right now… that thing you wish you could do.. Try it! Do it! Take the risk! Show others that you have the courage to chase your dreams despite the risk of failure. And, if you do fail, just remember that you are failing forward!

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Week 88: A Little Spring in my Steps

We are approaching the end of February which means Spring is just around the corner. I am already starting to see signs of the changing seasons. A little bit warmer during the days and the sun is rising earlier and staying up later.

The emergence of Spring also means that I am able to take my exercise outside and see my performance get better.

A Long City Walk

With the slight emergence of Spring I can get back to some outside time. This outside time includes getting back to walking and running around my city and exploring along the way. On Friday afternoon, after work, I had the opportunity to go for a nearly 5 mile walk around downtown Columbus.

I started my workout journey with long walks and I still thoroughly enjoy going for walks and they are still a good source of calorie burn. During my Friday walk I not only burnt over 800 calories but I also had the opportunity to explore the city.

When I think back to a year ago I was just starting to realize how great of an opportunity it was to have a sabbatical between jobs. I was going for long walks and runs every day and was learning how cool our city is. Fast-forward just one year and I am still enjoying long walks and re-exploring the same spaces.

Half Marathon Training Run

After my long walk on Friday I went for a long 8-mile run on Saturday. I am working on getting ready for my next half marathon in just 60 days and have been a little lax on the training runs because of the weather. But Saturday morning was in the high 30s / low 40s and was perfect for a long, though slightly chilly, run.

I did a total of 8 miles though I originally got back home at the 7.9 mile mark and walked up and down the block for a tenth of a mile. The best part is that I ran for the vast majority of the 8 miles and my total average pace time was better than my first half marathon. So, if I can just add 5 more miles, I should be on pace to beat my last half marathon time.

Book Announcement Coming This Week

Finally this is a big week. This week I am going to annouce the title of my book and start sharing the cover. In addition, I am going to start hyping / advertising the upcoming book launch nearly every day until the book launches. I will start by offering initial sales through a soft launch just to my email list. So sign up at OperationMelt.com/mail (to be the first to know.

The Arnold!

Lastly this week is the Arnold Sports Expo in Columbus. I am super excited to go the my second ever Arnold and get some additional fitness inspiration and some free samples. Plus the people watching is amazing!

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (2/11-2/16):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 198.7 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 7 miles
Total walk/run miles: 34.7 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workouts
Yoga 1+ times per week: none
One race per month: no February race scheduled
Continue to track & manage calories: 1,640 calories under budget

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Want the Ball

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Want the Ball

Warning: we are in the heart of college basketball season and there is a big sports analogy coming later. My apologies in advance!

Recently I was listening to an episode of the Pick the Brain podcast featuring a commencement address by Abby Wambach. Abby is a USA soccer player and has multiple Olympic gold medals. The theme of her speech was the four rules I’ve used to unite her pack and lead them to gold.

During this speech she told the following story about her fourth rule: demand the ball.

Abby was playing a small-sided scrimmage (5 against 5) as an 18 year old against professional athlete Michelle Akers. For the first three quarters of the game, Michelle was taking it easy on the kids, coaching them, teaching them about spacing, timing and the tactics of the game. But by the fourth quarter, she realized that because of all of this coaching, her team was losing by three goals. In that moment, a light switched on inside of her. She ran back to the goalkeeper, stood one yard away from her and screamed: Give. Me. The. Effing. Ball.

The goalkeeper gave her the effing ball. And she took that ball and she dribbled through our entire effing team, and she scored. Now this game was winners keepers, so if you scored you got the ball back. So, as soon as Michelle scored, she ran back to her goalie, stood a yard away from her and screamed: Give. Me. The. Ball. The keeper did. And again she dribbled though us and scored. And then she did it again. She took her team to victory.

Her point was that it is time for women to stand up and say “give me the respect I’ve earned.”

I thought this was a powerful leadership allegory in a slightly different but related way.

There have been times as a leader when I have sat back and waited for things to come to me. I have waited for direction or guidance or sat in my office and waited for people to ask me questions instead of being proactive. This just doesn’t work for a strong leader.

A strong leader operates more like a point guard in basketball – the leader on the floor. Good point guards run to the ball, they read the play and almost all plays involve the ball getting into that player’s hands. He or she calls for the ball and wants the ball in her hands. Good point guards don’t just wait for a pass, they engineer the play and make good things happen.

Leaders do the same, they call for the ball, they run to the ball and they try to get into the center of the action. A good leader is always talking to people, reading the environment, monitoring the data and looking for opportunities to make things better. By getting their hands on the ball, good leaders make big plays happen that weren’t there before.

On a related note, good leaders call for the ball but they don’t always shoot it every time the ball gets in their hands. Great leaders choose their battles and don’t take the ill-advised shot. Sometimes it is worth a couple more passes to keep from going into a situation with guns blazing before you have read the situation.

Call to Action: step into the middle of the play and call for the ball. Don’t be satisfied with the easy way of waiting for direction, guidance and the play to come to you. Yes it is more comfortable to let the play come to you (trust me, I have done it a lot!) but greatness is just outside that comfort zone.

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/

Week 87: A Health Rollercoaster

I had 2 lazy weeks followed by a week where I was back on track and this week was kind of in the middle. While I had a couple of solid workout days including a Sweaturday that burned over 1400 calories I had several days without exercise. The result was a week where I didn’t achieve all of my fitness goals.

While I hate failing short of my weekly fitness goals I set my goals high enough that I still land in a healthy place.

Rollercoaster Ride

I have motioned before that my smaller and more fit body is more sensitive to some things. The best example is sodium. When I consume too much sodium it causes my cells to retain water and my weight to go up.

This week was filled with higher sodium choices and a little more stress than normal. The result were big swings in my weight of up to 2-4 pounds up or down per day. Plus my resting heart rate was elevated a little at 61 beats per minute instead of my normal mid-50s. There were several mornings where my weight was temporarily over 200 pounds only to be in the mid 190s the next day. These experiences absolutely reinforce that I am at my minimum weight now.

In short this week was a health rollercoaster ride.

While I am very focused on and motivated by numbers I can’t let myself become overly focused on them. At this stage in my journey an excessive focus on the numbers could turn my daily mood and self-image to fluctuate as fast as my weight.

It took me a while to reach this stage in my journey but I am happy to say I am definitely more than the numbers.

Operation Melt Email List

This week I launched my Operation Melt email list. My goal is to use this list to deliver a weekly Operation Melt recap to people’s inboxes to make it easy to follow along. Plus I am going to use this list to make some big upcoming announcements. Join the list here: https://www.operationmelt.com/mail/

Thanks for reading!

Last week’s stats (2/4-2/10):

Maintain avg. weight of 189-199 pounds: 197.7 lbs average
Run 10+ miles per week: 8 miles
Total walk/run miles: 32.4 miles
Weight training 2-3 times per week: 2 workout
Yoga 1+ times per week: none
One race per month: no February race scheduled
Continue to track & manage calories: 1,887 calories under budget

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Fail Forward

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Fail Forward

Throughout the month of February I have been sharing inspirational quotes and thoughts about the topic of failure. Failure is a difficult concept to see inspirationally but it is an important topic. It is often misunderstood.

Let’s start with a little secret: leaders fail.

In our social media fueled world it is easy to get caught up in the highlight reels of peoples lives. But that just isn’t accurate. People have setbacks, they have bad days and they have failures just like they have successes. Failure is a fact of life even if people aren’t bragging about it on Instagram.

Leaders look at failure a bit differently. Yes, they hate to fail. Nobody likes to fail. So don’t get me wrong that failure feels good because it doesn’t.

That said great leaders know that failure is a critical part of success.

There are countless of sources that have explained why failure is important to success. But two of my favorites are:

  • “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison
  • “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford

I like these two quotes because they demonstrate a crucial fact about failure. Every failure is a step closer to success. You learn what doesn’t work. You have more information available to plan your next steps. The act of failing today makes your probability of success greater tomorrow. It is called failing forward!

I have failed many times. But every one of those failures equipped me to try a new path and my end result was better than it would have been otherwise.

The beneficial aspect of failure leading to bigger successes is why I have dubbed this month Fail Forward February.

One last point: failure is a critical requirement for innovation. If you don’t believe me, just listen to Albert Einstein – who was definitely an innovator:

If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new

Call to Action: do your best to succeed every day. But when, not if, you fail spend some time reflecting on the lessons in that failure. Take those lessons and apply them to the next iteration of your plan!

About Reflections on Leadership

Reflections on Leadership is my weekly article series reflecting on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My goal for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all the obstacles to achieving your goals. Helping you become a better leader is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a share on social media or message me directly.

Join my email list to have weekly Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox: https://OperationMelt.com/mail/