Have you taken the time to sit down and write out your core responses to any and every situation? If you have not, then you should certainly do so. In living, just as in leading, we must have things settled in our minds in order to practice them. Without firm commitment to our convictions, then we will fall into making choices out of convenience. By continuing, you will see the things established in my heart and mind - a little something called the S.M.I.L.E. Rule.
The image above says it all!
Oh, before we go any further into the explanation, I want to make sure you know how to create your own. Simply, visit http://wigflip.com/automotivator and it will take you through the incredibly simple steps. Now, let's turn back to the explanation.
Why call it a rule? Well, rules are made to be followed and not broken. If you violate a rule, then you face a consequence. I chose that language specifically because not following what has been established as a response results in negativity or lost focus. Life is too short to deal with an inordinate amount of pessimism or drifting; so, I needed a rule to follow.
S - See the opportunity not the obstacle - life is filled with situations that did not go "your way." Rather than losing heart and wanting to give up, choose to look at the positive. See what you can learn and use from that experience. By looking for the opportunity, you are deciding to climb the mountain one step at a time rather than sitting down and never making forward progress.
M - Make the most of every day - you are not promised tomorrow, so do today what is most important. We fill our days with things that do not matter (e.g. working extra hours for a job you may leave in a year at the expense of lost time with children that grow way too quickly). We are not intentional in prioritizing and, as such, lose effectiveness. Never overlook the people that mean the most to you. If you've never heard the Garth Brooks song "If Tomorrow Never Comes," well, go take a listen. The line in the chorus that gets me is this - "is the love I gave them in the past going to be enough to last if tomorrow never comes?"
I - Invest in people - you exist in life and leadership not to make money or accumulate things or become powerful. Your purpose is simple: to leave the world better than you found it by helping other people. I sat down and imagined my own funeral and wrote one sentence that I hope people would say to my family. If that happens, then I will consider my life a success: "He lived his values and, in doing so, made me a better person." Investing in people is the wisest choice you can ever make with your time!
L - Laugh a lot - if you are not laughing, then you are not living. There is humor and joy everywhere in life, but you have to look for it. Go back to the "S" (opportunity v obstacle) because that one matters right here too. If you are only seeing the things that stand in your way, then you are also overlooking the small joys in life.
E - Enjoy the ride - do you like roller coasters? Why? Is it the slow, jolting ascent up that first hill or is it the speed and turns and loops? Of course, its the latter!! We enjoy roller coasters when we have the least control; yet, our response in life is the exact opposite. I have a dear picture of me and my oldest (when he was about 2) outside playing in a heavy downpour. I have no doubt that drivers going by thought we were nuts playing in the rain, but what a time we had. Life is short. It is filled with twists and turns but they can be treasures IF you have the right attitude.
You've seen mine, so take the time to create your rules or responses for every situation. That way, you intentionally act rather than merely exist.