Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
I have shared several posts about the power of Jon Gordon’s book, One Word That Will Change Your Life, and this time I will take you back to December of 2016 and explain how I found my first word, LISTEN.
My family and I flew to California over the Christmas Break to spend some days in the sleepy, seaside village of Cambria with the in-laws. I have been reading several Jon Gordon books and the latest I downloaded on my iPad was One Word That Will Change Your Life. As I have written before, the book guides you to reflect on your life, where you are and where you want to be. You ask these three questions:
When you have your list compiled and have it thought through, it turns spiritual and directs you to seek quiet, and to pray and ask, “What do you want to do in me and through me?” I have never been very active in my religious beliefs. I have been a believer but never a person who prays. I didn’t regularly read the bible or attend church. I was never comfortable in that aspect of my life but had started gaining interest due to my mentor, Steve Moles.
I read the book on the flight and repeated the mantra over and over asking God, “What do you want to do in me and through me?” I didn’t get an answer. One morning I got up early, put in my earbuds, turned on some podcasts, and walked to the rocky ocean shore. The water in Cambria is cold, regardless of the season, and it is not a sandy beach like you have in the southern part of California. I combed the beach looking for shells (there are not any but incredibly smooth stones) and trying to spend time in prayer asking the question and hoping for an answer. The sound of the surf crashing against the rocks in the early morning hours was incredible. So loud that I recorded it on my iPhone and commented how loud it was.
Frustrated that I still didn’t have an answer to my One Word, I decided to continue my morning walk through the streets to head back to our rental. I put my earbuds back in and continued the podcast. As I moved away from the shore and along a coastal reserve, an older man walking his dog approached and said something to me. I removed my earbuds and apologized, explaining I didn’t hear him. He said, “The ocean is loud this morning.” I agreed and shared how I recorded the sound of the surf. He responded, “The ocean has a lot to say if you listen.” I chuckled and told him to have a good day, returned my earbuds and continued my walk.
When something hit me about what he said. “The ocean has a lot to say if you listen.” So, I turned off the podcast, removed my earbuds and BAM! It hit me just like in the movies as images came flashing in my mind's eye. Listen to the sound of the ocean. Listen to my body as I was overweight and struggling physically. Listen to my mind as I was battling with anxiety and challenges internally to me. Listen to those who are providing guidance to me at work - not just the words but the advice. Listen to those who have different opinions - they have value and deserve to be heard. Listen to my soul that was saying something needed to change.
I had chills running up and down my body as I stood there, staring straight ahead as my mind raced - and then I smiled and laughed out loud. I turned around to share this revelation with this older man who was walking his dog… but he wasn’t there. Nowhere to be seen. No house that he could have walked into or a side street that he could have walked down to escape my view. He just wasn’t there.
It may be that what felt like only a split second was actually a longer period of time that allowed the older man to move on to the next street or house and disappear. I don’t know. But what I do know is that moment changed me and my outlook. I had a smile on my face the entire walk back and felt an extra bounce in my step as I got back to the house and shared my experience with my family.
LISTEN was my One Word in 2017 and served me well. That doesn’t mean that suddenly I became a better listener, it means that I became more aware of my challenges and therefore could remind myself to stop and listen instead of just acting… sometimes! It helped me with relationships as I shared my One Word with others and how I was trying to be better in that area. Sometimes, all you need do is LISTEN to have One Word that will IMPACT you and those you care about Beyond Today.
PREVIOUS POSTS ABOUT ONE WORD:
One Word Can Have an Impact in 2022
Focus on One Word
One Word for the New Year
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.