A couple of friends and I rode the Raccoon River Valley Trail (RRVT - 72 mile bike path west of Des Moines) this past weekend and bought some much needed cookies from a gal staffing the fundraiser table for the library in Linden, Iowa. She and I talked a bit, and I found out that her mom, who died last year at the ripe old age of 104 in Michigan, lived in her house until the end. She also told me that she was 80, and the carpet in the library was in dire need of replacing (hence the fundraiser). The other thing we discovered from her was that Linden was the highest spot on the RRVT and it was home to 80 houses. It was a memorable stop, and she made an impression on me.
I wonder sometimes how much information I pass on about myself. A couple of years ago my nephews told me to basically shut up about biking and Ragbrai. My constant prattle about biking was driving them crazy. I remember a friend years ago told me to stop talking about Quint Studer - “enough! I can’t take it anymore!” Fair enough, I did talk about him a lot. A senior leader once told me to stop with the “sense of urgency” talk - it was exhausting. I curbed all of those conversations. A couple of things happened. 1. I now ride my bike, and if someone wants to ride with me they are always welcome - but I’m not blathering on about it endlessly (I’m trying to curb the bike talk). 2. By not talking about Studer, people at Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics don’t think we are still practicing doing “Studer” - fyi, we never stopped. I just don’t reference him personally as much and 3. Ok but by not pushing a “sense of urgency” - I think it’s easier for complacency to set in and not as much gets done.
What I’m doing is not right. I should be able to talk about what I like to do - but maybe with less volume and frequency. After 18 years of practicing Studer principles - it is now, our culture. And as much as I like and appreciate Quint, our culture is our culture and not his anymore. Lastly, I should examine my desire to lead with a sense of urgency. If I cleaned the house with the thought that I was always expecting company and no one came, I wouldn’t be truthful to myself and my motivation would decrease. Perhaps, “sense of urgency” is leadership by fear, and I should examine other successful ways to motivate. Hmmm?
Self-awareness -- how we come across to other people is important. Personally, I don’t want come across as a bore or braggart or dullard. “He’s a ray of sunshine and someone who brights up our day whenever he talks to us” - this is what I want people to say about me … this is my goal.