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There are days where we just get crazy busy. My weakness is having a million projects in progress, all partially completed, which create endless distractions.

I love the model that ducks look calm above the water but are paddling like crazy underneath.

So let’s focus on that calmness for a moment.

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People who know me know that I see everything as a process, something which can be designed, tweaked, and improved.

I love it when a good plan pulls together and inspires people.

But I’ve discovered that there’s a dark side as well: Not everybody likes to think in process steps. Most people, in fact. Which then means that I’m speaking the wrong language for them.

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I sure get tied up in all these activities I’m engaged in. My to-do list is endless.

But it’s critical to spend some time reflecting on what’s going on. How am I doing – REALLY? Is the business healthy? How about my key relationships?

And when I’m surrounded by all this noise and distraction, it’s SO hard to do!

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Yeah, I’ll confess: I’m an engineer.

So it’s fascinating to me that I’m much deeper now into the “people side” of business. I love that people are SO much more challenging to work with!

A never ending cascade of depth and complication. But my engineering side does come out, because I tend to see everything as a process which can be designed and improved.

If only people were that simple.

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Where do you get your inspiration from?

It’s an important question when we get bogged down by details, by differences and disagreements. Which is SO easy these days.

But all of that doesn’t give you energy and the inspiration to move forward.

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We’re the absolute best at what we do! In the world!

Is that really true? And more importantly, is that what our customers and stakeholders need from us?

It’s good to step back and ask this kind of question periodically, because it’s easy to fall in the trap of trying to be the absolute best at something people don’t really care about.

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The real world never lines up the way you’d like it to. There are always imperfections.

Of course, this is incredibly frustrating – even if you don’t think of yourself as a perfectionist.

This comes to mind because I’m currently working on a yearly budget. And I don’t dream in spreadsheets.

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Sometimes I find it hard to see a positive future. Perhaps you also have days where it feels like you’re stuck in problems and drudgework.

I’ve found that it’s really much more about my own attitude than what’s happening outside me. I’m the one who’s stressing myself out.

I suppose this might happen to you as well?

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One of my challenges is being able to constantly flip between the big picture and the detailed picture. And I know others can struggle with this too.

I’ve been neck deep in spreadsheets, which is not exactly my most favorite place to be. And then I get yanked over to dealing with someone who felt ignored. Then over to that email conversation I forgot to reply to yesterday.

Sometimes it feels like I’ve done nothing but look at details.

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Sometimes opportunities just pop up out of nowhere!

I’ve been teaching a class recently which talks about the idea of being open to opportunities.

“Luck favors the prepared mind.”

Louis Pasteur

I have to confess that I don’t favor using the word “luck” in this context, because it feels too random and out of control. The fact is that opportunities happen all the time, but most of the time we’re not prepared to do anything about them.

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