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Tolling Points

Pursue Great Goals While Relishing Small Moments

This is a guest post by Seth Kahan, a leadership and performance improvement authority specializing in change leadership. Check out his website here.

I have a dream to help leaders create the future. I believe we influence our world much more than we generally acknowledge. The visions we hold, our moment-to-moment choices, and day-to-day actions are our greatest tools.

I want to work hand-in-hand with people who make a difference. I want to stand by their side, ready and able to support them in achieving progress, and leave a legacy of tools and techniques that help leaders build a better world. Every year, month, week, and day I envision what I can do to realize my dream and make decisions about how to spend my time.

I have seen audacious challenges come to pass through a series of mundane acts. During one of the most productive periods in my recent life, I came to realize that my greatest instruments were (a) the imagined future I was working toward that shaped my choices and (b) the quality of presence I brought to every interaction. I began to smile more at work. I took pleasure in quality conversations. I spent more time listening and appreciating the people I worked with.

As a result I found a qualitative improvement in my conversations and their outcomes, as well as greater joy all day long. Simple. Zen. Be here now.

Three weeks ago I read an ad in the Washington Post that said a litter of German Shepherd puppies had been dropped off at a woman's house in rural Virginia. Although it didn't make logical sense for me to adopt a second dog at this time, I was compelled to give a call and find out more.

There was one little female puppy. I decided to go and have a look. I knew there was a very high probability I would be smitten and bring home the pup.  I took my 7-year-old daughter, got in my little, blue car, and headed out to the country.

There we found only two pups left in a large crate inside the woman's house. She was taking very good care of them. I knew as soon as I met the little one that she was a good match in temperament and would make an excellent family dog as well as a solid camping companion for me. Now life is filled with housetraining, long walks to explore the world, teaching a new dog old tricks, and romps in the park. Lots of small moments. Lots of delight... even when waking up in the middle of the night to go for a short walk and avoid an accident inside. She is just three months old!  Sita is her name - like the Hindu deity - and she is now part of our family! Welcome, Sita!

What dreams do you cherish? Name one now. Say it out loud or write it down. Take a breath and give it some room. Let it carry you, infuse your life with anticipation of its realization.

Next turn to this moment: whom will you see next? Who is the very next person you are likely to see today? What can you do to improve the quality of that interaction? Is there something specific that would raise the bar, bring light to the meeting, and increase the joy?

Go after things that matter. Dedicate yourself to big aspirations you care about. Delight in the details. Imagine a vision realized where every moment along the way was a pleasure. The world and everyone you meet (including yourself) will be better for it.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them.”

― Phyllis Bottome




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