Having It All Together … Right!

You probably know someone who seems to always have it together.  They are everywhere and in everything. To the naked eye they always seem to excel at everything they do.  

There is no slowing down! Is there a committee? They’re on it. Have an event that needs organizing? Ready to go! They are raising 55 children and spent quality time with each of them. Working two full-time jobs. Volunteer at the local shelter. Raising money to fight some disease. Writing a book. And have the happiest spouse in the world.

Social media amplifies this picture. Not only do we get descriptions but also vivid pictures of their perfect life, perfect children, perfect job, and idyllic state of mind.

In reality, there are parts of their lives that are neglected. That’s not a maybe, it’s a certainty. The picture we see, often filled in with our own perceptions, is a flawed photo.  I exaggerated the description above intentionally because that’s what we often do when we think about those high achieving types. We make them bigger than they are. Then we compare ourselves to them, imagining that they have everything in their perfect life while our lives are hollow shells full of meaningless events and a cesspool of problems.  It’s unfair!

The law of sacrifice cannot be violated

It’s also unreal.  The truth is that people who seem to have it together are not living perfect lives.  They may be accomplishing more than we are right now, but that’s not because they have it all together.  It’s not because they are necessarily more talented than we are; in fact, often they may be less talented.  And they have problems too, they just don’t share them around as much as some others do. THEY KNOW THAT EVERY THOUGHT THAT HITS THEIR HEAD DOESN’T HAVE TO HIT SOCIAL MEDIA!

Applying the Law

But what they really have that helps them succeed is an good understanding and effective application of the Law of Sacrifice.  As one of my mentors John Maxwell says, “You must give up to go up“.  You have to let go of some things in order to have other better things.

That’s a scary prospect for many of us and perhaps even a little depressing.  When we think about the Law of Sacrifice or giving up, we picture big things.  We can become a CEO but our family life is non-existent. If we want to make a lot of money we have to get rid of our moral compass.

Again, it’s that penchant for exaggeration.  And it’s also good old resistance helping us find reasons to not make any changes.

Simplicity in the law of Sacrifice

Even a time turner can't save you from the Law of SacrificeIn truth, the Law of Sacrifice is actually pretty simple. It’s all about priorities. Every single one of us has the same 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Barring Hermione Granger passing down her Time Turner to us (which you can actually buy) we cannot change that restriction on our lives.

That being the case, we change what we can. If we can’t change time, we change how we invest our time. Most of what takes up our time aren’t major things, they are trivial things. Therefore, most of the sacrifices we have to make are not between two high priorities, but between a high priority and a low priority.

Giving Up Good for Better

You actually look at giving up lesser things in order to get greater things.  You sacrifice an hour of television time every day in order to read a personal growth book.  Give up a couple of free evenings each week to work on a master’s degree.  When you learn to really apply the Law of Sacrifice, what you are really doing is simply learning to

Say No to the Good So You Can Say Yes to the Best

My father excelled in the credit union business during his career.  He was President and CEO of several credit unions over the span of many years and also was a high demand consultant to credit unions nationwide for many years after that.  He was a pioneer in the industry. We have the largest ATM network in the country due to his efforts.

To get there, he had to spend long hours working. He gave up some evenings of watching TV to earn a GED and then a degree.  Yet, he was never an absentee husband or father.  He coached Drum Corps and Little League.  He was a Scoutmaster. We went on trips.  Dad was at dance recitals for my sister.  While there were sacrifices to reach the level he achieved the sacrifices were giving up lesser things to get those greater things.  He did not give up one great thing to achieve another. Was he perfect? Did he mess up the choices sometimes? Certainly. Yet he made the decision and honored the commitment.

Obey the Law and Love It

Know that you have to give up to go up. The Law of Sacrifice is alive and well and it is immutable.

Embrace that. While it sounds like you are being deprived you are actually being set free. When you apply the Law of Sacrifice and set your priorities it frees you from what isn’t a priority. When you shape your schedule around those things that are priorities, it frees you up to say no to scheduling lesser priorities.

Some laws are intended to provide liberty instead of tyranny. When you apply the Law of Sacrifice there will be hard choices to make. But the good news is that the choice is always yours.

do you have trouble finding clarity on your priorities? Not sure where to start? contact me today for a free discovery strategy session.

This Multitasking Leader Comes to a Screeching Halt

About few years ago, my son and I were driving home from a Boy Scout meeting.  We turned through an intersection and proceeded a few hundred yards forward when I looked down to change the radio station.  At the same time, the car in front of me decided suddenly that they wanted to turn right into a parking lot and hit their brakes.  Lots of noise later, they have a beat up rear-end and my car is totaled.  Thankfully, no one was hurt. 

A Do Everything World

woman trying to multitask with two phonesWe all do it.  Folding laundry and watching TV.  Driving and changing the radio station.  Texting on your smartphone while talking to an employee.  Sitting in a meeting and sending an email.  Trying to do more than one thing at the same time because we don’t think there are enough hours in the day.  It’s called Multitasking and it is the biggest time waster of all!

Wait“, you might say, “multitasking is a critical part of functioning in work and life today!  How can you say that it is a time waster?

Because it is. The evidence is mounting and irrefutable.

And you need to stop.

The Overwhelming Case Against Multitasking

A multitasking leader may argue that multitasking is essential. You think you need to be able to do multiple things at once to get everything done. Too many hours per day are already spent at work, so you may believe that if you don’t multitask that you will spend even more time and get few things done.

But numerous research studies suggest that actually the opposite is true. It is BECAUSE you are multitasking that you aren’t getting things done! Here are some of the more recent studies and the conclusions they have made about why multitasking is detrimental.

  • You are MORE EASILY DISTRACTED. (Stanford Study)
  • Your MEMORY GETS WORSE. (same as above)
  • You become more ANXIOUS AND DEPRESSED (Plos One)
  • It actually makes you LESS EFFICIENT AND LOWERS PRODUCTIVITY (JOEP Vol. 27 Issue 4)
  • Evidence shows more mistakes are made when multitasking instead of focused work.

Your Bad Multitasking Self

The idea is that if we are multitasking then we are working on multiple things at the same time, juggling everything and keeping things going.  

But that’s not what happens.  In most cases what happens is it simply means that you are doing multiple things badly.

It doesn’t help that multitasking is encouraged by many employers today.  First, many companies advertise jobs where they specifically state in the job requirements that they want someone who can effectively multitask.  I guess my question is, how exactly do they measure that?  

Secondly, with layoffs and streamlining, employers tell the survivors they must learn to do more with less, which unfortunately includes less staff.  But not less work.  While they don’t explicitly say it, they expect you to pick up all the slack and still do it within the same time frames.  So your choices at either to put in twice as much time or “multitask”.

You are not Multitasking

multitasking in WindowsFurther, understand that what you are doing is not actually multitasking.  

It is actually just task-switching.  

What it reminds me of is the Microsoft Windows operating system on computers.  Early versions of Windows offered a way to jump between tasks. You could still only run one thing at a time, but you could jump between applications.  That was called task-switching. It wasn’t until later versions where Windows would allow you to actually run multiple applications at the same time.  

What we do when we allegedly multitask is the first one – we are simply task-switching.  Problem is, we aren’t a computer with an operating system designed to do that, so we have a lot more trouble than Windows did jumping from one task to another.  And that’s saying something.

Proof that multitasking takes longer

We are actually designed to focus on one thing at a time.  Again, lots of research to support this.  Health Magazine cites a 2013 University of Utah study that found the better you thought you were at multitasking, the worse you actually were.

However, you may believe you are an excellent multitasking leader. As I have presented this information to groups in the past, there many in the crowd who, despite the overwhelming evidence, maintain that they are an excellent multitasker.

Let’s put that to the test

This test is derived from Dave Crenshaw, author of The Myth of Multitasking

Part 1

  1. multitasking leader test part 1Get out a sheet of paper and lay it down so it is wider than it is high (landscape style).
  2. Draw four lines across the paper. 
  3. Get someone to time you on this. On the first line write “multitasking is a thief“. On the second line write the numbers 1-21. Record the time it took you to do both tasks one after the other. It should be about 30 seconds or less.

Part 2

  1. multitasking leader test part 2On the next two lines you will do the same thing, again being timed. 
  2. This time, you will write a letter on line 3 and then a number on line 4, then back to line 3 and another letter and then a number on line 4.
  3. Do this until done. Record your time.

You should find that A) it took you much longer, B) you likely made a mistake, and C) it was more stressful.

The Conclusion

In summary, you suck at multitasking.  

And so do I and so does everyone else.

So, if you were doing something else while you were reading this, stop.

Now leave your comments and thoughts.

Okay, now you’re done.  Go back to that other thing.


Make Plans, Not Resolutions

Here we are on the cusp of creating New Year’s Resolutions.  We hastily come up with them off the top of our head and share them at parties. They are almost never written down. We know how that usually goes. Maybe you are one of those who actually accomplishes their resolutions but the majority of us don’t. That’s documented by study after study.
Even when we start with good intentions, it quickly fades.
resolutions meme - I'm opening a gym called Resolutions. It will have exercise equipment for the first 2 weeks and then turn into a bar for the rest of the year.In fact, one of my favorite memes is the one about opening a gym called Resolutions. After the first two weeks of the year it turns into a bar!

More Than Resolutions

What IS significant about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is that it is a symbolic opportunity to start over.  We are starting a new year and for many that means a fresh start; an opportunity to start over.

Orient Yourself

However, a new start requires more than just the resolve. We have to know
  1. Where we are now
  2. Where do we want to go
  3. What do we need to do to get there

Reflect and Plan

Planning beats resolutions by helping you target your work.

It is likely that during the time period between Christmas and New Years Day your business has slowed down a bit. Even if it hasn’t, you should be able to set aside some time during that week. Try to make it at least about 4-8 hours total.

1. Reflect

For the first part you are going to make two lists. One list will be looking back at what you actually accomplished that year. Be generous. Even if things didn’t go exactly as planned and even if it was a big surprise, write it down.

Now list things that you wished you had accomplished during the year. On this list, include things you planned but did not accomplish. Also include opportunities you missed.

The purpose of this is to first see that you actually got things done; even if they aren’t numerous. The second purpose is to see what you want or need to move forward.

2. Target Goals

The next part is to make your list of what you want to accomplish. Take a look at what was unfinished from the past year. Is any of it still relevant? If it didn’t get done, what got in the way? Is that roadblock still there? How will you get around it?

Don’t rush this part. Think it through. Think about where you want to be in a year’s time. What do you want to be proud of? How will you make the biggest impact on others? What will help you add more value?

3. Make a Plan

Now that you have your annual goals, it’s time to create a roadmap. It needs to include at least monthly, if not weekly, activities that move you closer to your goals. In some cases, it may be even daily.

For example, if you want to trim down a little and lose a few inches off your belly, there are likely weekly and perhaps even daily activities you need to do to get there. Determine what those precise activities are and how often and how long you need to do them each time. In other words, create a timeline of activities.

4. Fill Your Calendar

Finally, add everything to your calendar. I mean EVERYTHING! What gets scheduled gets done. Block out times for each activity you need to do to accomplish your goals. Those calendar items become daily reminders to work on your goals and they set aside time to do it. I know for me one of my biggest hurdles is a very erratic schedule. Blocking out the calendar helps.

5. Be a 1%er

Don’t try to do it all at once, but do it intentionally and do it daily. Focus on simply Improving yourself by 1% a day. That doesn’t sound like much but it can be a multiplier. Think about it. Just 1% a day builds on the 1% the day before. After a year, you haven’t grown 365%; it’s actually many times over that!

A great year is ahead of you IF you are willing to take the time to plan one. This is the time.

Need to bounce some things off someone or need a little help? Drop me a line at psimkins(at)Boldlylead.com or call me at 321-355-2442.


Leaders and Heroes Overcome and Stand Out

The Victory of a Moment for Heroes

graduation day photoThis week we celebrated as my two youngest graduated high school. One after the other they walked from behind the curtain, accepted their diploma, and strode off the stage. It was incredibly exciting for them and joyful for Sherry and I.

As mundane as that sounds, it was a triumphant event. It is also a big reason why I gave the title to this post that you see.

It requires a little background, so bear with me.

You Want Humble Beginnings?

All our children were adopted from foster care. Adopted children always have challenges. Some have have enjoyed the benefit of being adopted as a newborn and thus never know any environment than the one with their adoptive parents. Ours were exposed to other environments less favorable, in some cases deplorable.

My two youngest, a boy and a girl, were both adopted at the age of two. In fact, their birthdays are exactly two weeks apart. We have jokingly called them “The Twins” even though they came from different birth families. Their backgrounds were varied.

My son was born in a house full of neglect and squalid conditions. There was also a very inconsistent adult influence. He came to us just as he turned two. Over time we saw that he was speech delayed and even later found out that he is on the Autism Spectrum. The results of that and other disorders created difficulties with relationships with teachers and others. Too many others around him and too much change created chaos for him. Changing situations created a lot of “do-overs” for him.

My youngest daughter was born premature and drug-addicted. Spent months in an incubator. Pediatric Asthma and prone to Febrile Seizures. When she first came into our lives we wondered if she was ever going to talk. Now we wonder if she is ever going to stop!

History Does Not Dictate Your Future

Both have risen from those backgrounds to become high school graduates with college ahead. He wants to become an engineer and she wants to become a voice-over artist for Disney.

They are My Heroes

because they overcame the odds. Like many, they navigate the challenges of daily life. But think about running a race where you have to start 20 yards behind everyone else. You have a lot of space to make up just to catch everyone else.

So Why Am I Sharing This Here?

You mean, other than a Blatant Dad-Brag?

I’m not above it and happy to do so. I am extremely proud of what they have done and who they are.

It is also because as a leader it tells me that where and what I have been in the past doesn’t keep me from being what I should be going forward.

If you have been the harsh, task-oriented leader in the past (or even the present) where employees were just assets – you are not doomed to stay that way.

If you have focused only on your own success, hogged all the credit and disseminated all the blame – today is the day you can start a new path. 

Nothing condemns you to repeat your failures except your unwillingness to take a new direction.

If you are ready to become the leader your employees want to willingly follow – know that you can.

What’s holding you back?

You, Sir, Are No George Washington!

Can the leadership of a modern president measure up to George Washington or Abraham LIncoln?

It seemed to be a good time to look at it in light of the current circumstance and my personal circumstance.

Here in the U.S. it’s President’s Day, celebrating that both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were born in February. It is a holiday for students, government employees, and banks, but not for everyone else, including Performance Management Trainers. The result of that is the amount of distractions around the house will make it difficult to get a lot done today; hence why you are getting this a day late.

Are you a “lessons learned” kind of person? You know, the one who looks for a lesson in everything? I try to be and that’s what led me here.

From a little research and reading, here’s what we know about the leadership of these former presidents.

Washington Showed Great Character in Leadership

What is cited repeatedly is Washington’s great moral leadership in the fledgling nation. It started when he was the army general and continued from there.

Multiple times the opportunity was presented for Washington to take over the country in an almost dictator like government. He repeatedly refused.

The Leadership of George Washington and Abraham LIncoln helped make the United States great.

Instead he helped steer the leaders towards a representative government. Once the government was formed he immediately resigned his commission in the military.

He refused a third term as president as he felt that it would be too easy for a leader to become a dictatorial type leader with that many terms. Of course, a law to that effect wasn’t passed until after Franklin Delano Roosevelt served four consecutive terms.

Lincoln’s Leadership Reunited a Nation

First, despite what you might see in social media, Abraham Lincoln is not the father of the Internet quote. He was, however, an excellent communicator. As an example of that, look at the Gettysburg address. Edward Everett, the main speaker at Gettysburg that day, spoke for over two hours. Lincoln’s speech lasted about two minutes.

Which one do you remember?

However, that was not the primary skill that led to his leadership success. According to an article by Catherine Moreton titled 10 Qualities That Made Abraham Lincoln a Great Leader, Lincoln consistently displayed several top leadership characteristics, among them:

  1. Capacity to listen to different points of view
  2. Willingness to share credit for success
  3. Ability to communicate goals and vision

It was these characteristics and others that helped Lincoln garner the support he needed, to empower military leaders to move forward, and after the war to bring the states back together.

Presidential Qualities For Successful Leadership

Presidential Historian and Author Robert Dallek in his book Hail to the Chief: The Making and Unmaking of American Presidents wrote that any U.S. President has required five qualities to be highly successful in that demanding role.

  • Vision
  • Pragmatism
  • Consensus Building
  • Charisma
  • Trustworthiness

Both Washington and LIncoln had a VISION of how things should be and it was unshakable. They communicated it to those around them consistently.

Both had the sense to face the harsh realities of their circumstances yet did not let their PRAGMATISM interfere with the vision they wished to achieve. Facing reality helps you to develop better plans for success.

Both looked to BUILD CONSENSUS around them. Washington convinced the continental congress to take actions to establish the structure of our nation’s government. Lincoln worked with the legislature and other leaders to get everyone to agree on the proper path to take.

Both had the CHARISMA to attract and influence others, much of that not through a bombastic or highly outspoken style – Washington in particular was somewhat soft-spoken – but through the attraction of their character.

Both men were considered very TRUSTWORTHY. You could believe what they said and you could count on their word. Neither let their ego get in the way.

So, the BIG QUESTION You Knew Was Coming

Using the qualities listed by Dallek, how do our modern presidents rate?

Put aside political bias for the moment and closely examine from George W. Bush to Donald Trump. Which qualities stand out in each of them? Which do they lack? How did (does) that affect their performance and outcomes?


How do YOU rate on each of these qualities? What do you lack? How does that affect your desired outcomes?

The same qualities that help a U.S. President be successful are the same ones that can help you.

Trustworthiness is a key. Without trustworthiness nothing else is possible. Do you trust your people? Can they trust you? Learn more about the importance of trustworthiness here.

With that, you can effectively share your vision of what you want to accomplish, seek consensus with those around you, use a pragmatic outlook to anticipate and overcome hurdles, and use your natural charisma (we all have it) to influence others to work alongside you.

What’s the quality that you have the hardest time developing? Share Your thoughts and challenges with me. If not here, email me at psimkins@boldlylead.com or text me at 321-355-2442.