Celebrating 2018

In December we celebrated what was by looking back at the past year and thinking of 12 AMAZING things we did in 2018.

“Everyone has to face obstacles. Everybody has to face hurdles. It’s what you do with those that determine how successful you’re going to be.” – Craig Sager

By looking back, we are remembering things that may have been forgotten. Our minds may focus on the most recent things that have happened in our lives, but when we dig all the way back to January 1, 2018, we understand how far we have truly come this year. By looking back at what you have accomplished throughout the year, you can motivate yourself to keep doing all the things! By looking back on what we have done this year, our minds open up to the possibilities of the upcoming year. Learning from the past allows us to grow into the person we want to be.*img_5424

Being able to look back and see how we have been living out your vision helps to demonstrate who you are and how you have been presenting yourself to others. We as an institution are looking back to ensure we are helping to create a just and caring world through the work that we are doing. It’s important to continue to keep our mission and vision front and center, and one way to do that is by re-visiting what we have done this year.

We want to encourage you to take some time today to revisit your year so you, too, can celebrate what was great about 2018 and learn from the hurdles you faced. Use our template (on right) and write down some of your accomplishments! Tag us on social media (@LeaderShape) to show us your 2018 highlights.

Reflecting in the Moment: 5 Take-Aways

We enjoyed spending October digging into the ways in which we can be in the moment with you. As we reflect on what we shared (and learned!) this month, there are five key take-aways that we want to leave you with.

Learn to MeditateOctober
One way we can be in the moment is through meditation. Although it may be typical to spend several minutes in meditation, you can always take a few moments during the day to practice this kind of mindfulness quickly but intentionally. Find a quiet space, sit comfortably and remember 5, 3, 8, 1.

  • Inhale and count to 5
  • Hold your breath and count to 3
  • Exhale and count to 8
  • Hold your breath and count to 1

Repeat as needed and experience the benefits of mindful and focused attention.

Set aside time for yourself during the day
You know that saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? We believe that it is a pretty accurate message. Consider this an encouragement to designate time for yourself each day. If you find it’s difficult to do so, maybe these strategies will help get you started:

  • Make an appointment with yourself and put it in your calendar
  • Ask someone you trust to help keep you accountable by checking in with you
  • Set an encouraging reminder
  • Know you deserve the time for yourself

Take the time to read
If you don’t consider yourself to be a reader, we hope we can change your mind. There are so many compelling reasons to read. And spending some time with a book could be the way in which you take time for yourself each day (see our point above, friends).

Find your mindfulness activity
Mindfulness, or focused awareness, is another way we can stay in the moment. Plus, it can help us to reduce stress and become more resilient. But here’s the thing. In order for a mindfulness practice to work for you, you need to do something that, well, works for you. When selecting an activity, it’s important for you choose one that fits your style, your schedule, your goals, etc.

Not sure what kind of activity would work for you? We’ve compiled several for you to try.

Do you have anything to add to our take-aways from the past month?
Drop them in the comments!

A Few Words from Paul: Time

How do you get something that is hard to find, contrary to how we typically think, and absolutely essential to us learning and growing?

I’m talking about the space to reflect. To stop. To get off the treadmill and think about what is going on.

At the Institute, we build in time for reflection as a part of the curriculum. I think about this often when we look at adding something new to the curriculum because often reflection is the first thing we think about removing when we need more time. Just like training is the first thing to go when budgets are tight, or time with your partner is sacrificed for the kids, or working out gets put aside when you have a deadline at the office.

Stephen Covey speaks about putting the “big rocks” into your day before the “small rocks” take up all of your space. What are your big rocks? Are you making the time to address these big, important issues that are essential to your happiness and success?

My guess is that we all struggle with this. In fact, I think we stress about it so much that we give up and go back to playing Pokémon Go. We engage in distraction that eases our pain, takes away the pressure, and keeps us busy on the “small rocks.

So how do we take time to reflect, train, think, exercise, and such?
I would suggest that LSH-all-banners-LO-RES-5we get clear on two things that drive every decision we make – pain and pleasure. Most everything we do is driven either by what pleasure we get from that activity or what pain we avoid by not doing that activity. Once we get clear about whether pain or pleasure is driving our decision making, we can begin to think about how we structure our day. We can begin to make decisions that focus on the pleasure we get more than the pain we avoid.

When we get to the point that we enjoy taking time to reflect more than we fear the pain of missing the next Twitter conversation about House of Cards, we begin to put those “big rocks” into our lives that ultimately result in new learning, new habits, new perspectives.

I’m not saying that we should completely avoid distraction or not be motivated by pain. I am merely suggesting that choosing to focus on what is truly important today that also makes us very happy is a heck of a way to go through life. It beats being busy in minutiae, high blood pressure, eating donuts, and being exhausted with nothing to show for it after years and years of doing so.

How am I choosing to use my time?
What am I choosing to do with the time I have?
And, are my choices reflecting my purpose and values?

That, my friends, is living and leading with integrity.

Reflect on that for a bit and keep your head up when you are searching for Pokémon.


Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.