Monthly Archives: May 2015

Comparison or Contentment

You can always find someone who is great at any one thing. When we compare our total self to each one great thing and want to be all great things rolled into one we lose the opportunity for contentment. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Contentment does not mean doing less than you are capable of achieving, it means being content with all you are capable of achieving.

Focus on your strengths, not other people’s strengths. Be your best, not other people’s best. This is the key to your individual success and contentment.

This is where the power of a team comes in handy. A team is made up of many individuals each with unique strengths. If each person on the team is content with doing their best at their position, then you can accomplish great things.

“Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine. Softball is amazing that way as a sport. Everyone on the field has a slightly different ability that makes them perfect for their position” – Jennie Finch, Collegiate All-American and Gold Medal Women’s Softball Pitcher.

However, even teams can get caught in the trap of comparison. Just like individuals, you can always find one team who is great at any one thing. Be the team you decide to be using the combined strengths you possess then be the best at it. You can’t be all things to all people.

As comedian Steven Wright joked, “You can’t have everything…where would you put it?”

From Strings To Wings

It seems odd at times, but the ultimate success of being a mentor is when you can cut the strings because you are no longer needed.

Successful mentoring doesn’t happen overnight. It takes an investment of time – yours and the person being mentored. But the return on your investment is worth it.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you want a harvest in one year, grow a crop. If you want a harvest in ten years, grow trees. If you want a harvest that lasts a lifetime, grow people.”

Some compare mentoring to a classroom where knowledge is taught. There is definitely a transfer of wisdom, but it isn’t so much taught as it is learned – through experience.

The best mentoring takes place through the process of trying out what is taught. The great scientist, Albert Einstein, had much to teach and was a professor of science at various time in his life. He is quoted as saying, “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

It is important that mentors share what they know, but it is equally important to help people discover what they already know. Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The greatest good you can do for an individual is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to them their own.”

Once people realize all that they can accomplish, then they are ready to fly.



Lead like an individual contributor

lead like an individual contributorIn a recent Forbes article Jack Zenger said, “Individual contributors are forgotten leaders.”  Can individual contributors really lead? It depends on your definition of leading..

Here are some definitions on leading that we can look into as we talk about leading like an individual contributor:

Brian Tracy said, “Leaders think and talk about solutions.”

Colin Powell said, “Leading is solving problems.”

Donald McGannon said, “Leadership is action.”

Steve Jobs said, “Leaders are innovators.”

John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence.”

Here is what the collective definitions says leaders do: Think and talk about solutions, solve problems, take action, innovate, and influence.

There is nothing here that isn’t done by individual contributors every day.

Your position or title is not the ultimate measure of a successful career. It is what you do with your position or title that matters.

The key is to do your best where you are, when you are, with what you are.


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