Emotional Maturity: 16 Ways to Preserve Your Battery Life

There are many tips on how to preserve your smart phone's battery - turn down the screen brightness, turn off the WiFi, stop playing Angry Birds all day, etc. But what about your battery? Leaders are called to do more, be more and produce more. Yet, your battery may be the same size as everyone else's. Therefore, your strategies for having the energy (i.e. battery life) to do life as a leader must be well-planned and they must work. Here are 16 time-tested physical, emotional, relational and mental tips for helping your battery stay charged.

Preserve Your Battery Life List

1. Get adequate sleep.
2. Consume nutritionally sound food and drink.
3. Maintain positive relationships.
4. Do meaningful work that aligns with your core values.
5. Have a hobby and do it often.
6. Keep harmful chemicals out of your body.
7. Remove the clutter from your vehicle, home, office space and life.
8. Stop the gossip.
9. Help others in need.
10. Stop making tiny issues into big deals.
11. Forgive others.
12. Create a cool memory often. (I.e. - new restaurant, road trip, date night, catch some live music, etc.)
13. Take vitamins daily, naps weekly and vacations yearly.
14. Clear your email inbox regularly.
15. Forgive yourself.
16. Listen to positive, uplifting music and human interactions.

Give your Twitter followers some positive messages this week:

Take vitamins daily, naps weekly and vacations yearly. @pli_leadership

Remove the clutter from your vehicle, home, office space and life. @pli_leadership

Do meaningful work that aligns with your core values. @pli_leadership


Skill Assessment: Components of Reaching Excellence

I enjoy the light travel load August brings for many reasons: family time, dedicated office time, space to work on writing songs and, most importantly, time to sharpen my iPad/iPhone game skills. One of the games filling my rec. time this season is called Aqueduct. It is a complexing puzzle challenge that takes time to move through and requires certain skills to master.

Isn't personal and professional success the same? The following list contains eight components necessary for reaching excellence in activities ranging from guilty pleasures like Aqueduct to meaningful pursuits like being great at your job.

The 8 P's of Reaching Excellence
  1. Prior experience - Excellence today is a fruit growing on the tree of yesterday's hard work.
  2. Passion - This hard work is fueled by a love for your craft. All actions have self-motivation at their core. All great actions have passion at their core.
  3. Practice - The skills you need to rock to reach excellence in your area are muscles that need to be exercised. Greatness in the public is born from hours of practice in private.
  4. Perfection - I actually believe perfection is the enemy of excellence. However, a game like Aqueduct is a reminder that in many pursuits there is a gold standard; a goal to be reached; a method for knowing whether you've hit success or not. Excellence can only be reached if you have identified what it looks like and go after it with perfection driving your journey.
  5. Pliable - This skill is essential when you have firm performance metrics in place. Goals change, people get in the way, life happens, etc. Flexibility to adjust on the fly is critical for remaining on top of your game (and staying sane).
  6. Produce - Although relatively assumptive, it is important to highlight that excellence isn't just something you are, it is what you do. You have to produce. You have to go to market. You have to get the deal done.
  7. Patience - Success doesn't happen overnight and excellence doesn't happen "overyear". It takes (sometimes) many years of continual work to be exceptionally great at something. Also, this is an active patience. You aren't waiting on it to happen. You are just doing your job and doing growth right and excellence happens over time.
  8. Pursuit - Focused, laser-focused pursuit. Steve Jobs, the Apple (now former) CEO, is a shining example of the power of focused pursuit. He led Apple with a dedicated pursuit of making products that spoke to our creative, functional, inspired, human and beautiful needs. Your excellence may not lead a $330 billion company, but that doesn't diminish it's importance - to you or the people and projects you influence.
If you have room to grow (i.e. - you are breathing), examine your life and see which of these eight components needs more of your attention.


Fostering Relationships: Motivate the V.I.P. in Others

To truly motivate someone, you need to learn about the V.I.P. in them...

Values + Interests + Personality

Then you design a motivation plan for them based on who they are. Essentially you are figuring out which "carrot" will work for them. This puts the individual at the center of your approach instead of the desired outcome or your perception of the individual. It is challenging and time-consuming if you have a large team, but it is time well spent.

Here are a few other posts with more motivation techniques:







Good luck!


Teaching PLI: 10 Essential Leadership Questions

The PLI curriculum is built on the 10 Essentials of Leadership. If you are teaching the curriculum this year or if you are just wanting a guide for developing your own leadership abilities, the following 10 questions serve as a primer for gaining insight into the importance of each Essential.

Vision - What am I doing today to be where I need to be in 5 years?

Integrity - How am I helping my team trust me?

Innovativeness - What are the challenges I am facing today that require more "solution thinking"?

Wise Judgment - Who do I consult with before making major decisions?

Service Mindedness - Do I have enough volunteerism in my life?

Goal Processing - Do I have challenging goals that stretch and grow my abilities?

Skill Assessment - What is my core strength and have I put myself in the position to do that everyday?

Emotional Maturity - Do I handle struggles and "failures" with grace and a growth attitude?

Fostering Relationships - What is the condition of my most important relationship?

Masterful Communication - Do I listen to others with focus?

Now, print this post and invest time thinking about, writing down and working on your answers. Good luck!


General: Four Attributes of Great Leaders

There are four attributes of great leaders I challenge you to develop or grow for the purpose of being a solid model of leadership for others.
  1. Great leaders believe in others more than they do.
  2. Great leaders create positive interactions with others.
  3. Great leaders carry a spirit of tested optimism.
  4. Great leaders see different things by seeing things differently.
Great leadership is making a positive difference in people and situations to create value and growth. These four traits move leaders for this purpose.


Teaching PLI: Great and Awful Teacher Traits

Last year we set out on a mission to answer this critical question...

What are the commonalities of great teachers and awful teachers?

We heard from students, teachers, administrators, vendors, etc. The following lists contain the most frequent answers we found among the hundreds of responses.

Best/Most Effective Teacher Traits
  • Organized
  • Passionate about seeing students succeed
  • Passionate about their subject
  • Holds high expectations for students; challenges them to succeed
  • Seeks out professional development
  • Avoids using negative weapons - embarrassment, guilt, fear
  • Invests in students beyond teaching the subject

Worst/Least Effective Teacher Traits
  • Doesn't teach for understanding; only teaches for testing
  • Does not understand subject
  • Does not have effective teaching techniques
  • Reads straight from textbook
  • Doesn't make an effort to get to know students
  • Talks down about other students not in the classroom
  • Is vocal about not liking their job, the school, the staff and/or the students

This project was both inspiring and discouraging.  Many of the traits from the bottom list came directly from students.  They don't like teachers who take it easy on them or who only make the classroom fun.  They want to enjoy school, but also learn what they need to learn.  The study was also discouraging because of all the clearly awful teachers these students have to be around and these administrators/teachers have to put up with.  It is so difficult to remove a teacher from a school, the awful ones stay in the system even though they are clearly not fit for the task of inspiring, motivating and educating.

If you are a teacher and/or have influence over one, please share this list.  At the 2009 TED conference, Bill Gates said there are two major global issues he believes are not getting enough attention and, if fixed, would significantly improve our quality of life.  Figuring out how to make teachers great was one of those.  I am excited to be playing a part in this inspiring task at school faculty/staff in-services this year.   Teaching educators how to be great is a challenging, yet rewarding mission.