Breaking Out of Paradigm Prison

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to focus your commitment to a mission. Reading time: 4:05

     In the 1980 movie–The Blues Brothers — Elwood assures Jake with all sincerity:  “We’re on a mission from God.”

    blues-brothers-Indeed in this mission, The Blues Brothers were specifically deployed. Not generally employed.

     They were virtually thrust into a targeted and timed problem-solving role that challenged them to lead –NOW–or else suffer the consequences beyond frayed friendships and scarred relationships.

      And in the process the Blues Brothers illustrate the ennobling might and majesty of leading from the heart, for the heart and by the heart over and through obstacles to complete their mission. No matter what!

     Let’s see if we can capture the Blues Brothers magic formula of Deployed Leadership and make it work for you.

Deployed Leadership

     Deployed,  the Blues Brothers bubbled with enthusiasm for achieving the objective: raise $5,000 in 11 days to pay off back county taxes OR ELSE the orphanage where the Blues Brothers grew up would be foreclosed. They  focused on achieving the objective BECAUSE of  — not in spite of –the deadline.

     Deployed, the Blues Brothers faced a broader challenge to redeem themselves from a life of crime (Jake had just gotten out of prison) and both had not lived up to the expectations of the nuns –the only real family they ever knew –who cared for them as children in the orphanage.

     Deployed, the Blues Brothers mission was personal: Keep the head of the orphanage –Sister Mary Stigmata —from losing her home and her leadership role. She told the Blues Brothers she wanted to stay in Illinois as head of the orphanage instead of being shipped off to Africa to do the Lord’s work. Continue reading “Breaking Out of Paradigm Prison”

Running: An Exercise in Leadership

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to stay focused on your primary goal. Reading time: 3:09

     He was content –if not happy– with himself. Content to stay in the background, hidden from any and all leaders or leadership opportunities.

     Life1He settled for less than his personal best.  And he did even less.

     Lifting the pop-top of a beer can was always enough exercise for him. And dieting? Well for all he knew Count Calories was some monarch in a far off country.

    By settling for less, he didn’t flirt with the frustrations of failure or threaten his couch potato comfort.

     In fact, being a little chunky gave him an excuse when he played his usual lousy game of tennis or golf or when he failed to win the bid or get the promotion.

    He was like T.S. Eliot’s Hollow Men:

  “Shape without form,
shade without color.
Paralyzed force.
Gesture without motion.”

   ????????????????????????? He was like the Beatles’s Nowhere Man:

  “A real nowhere man,
living in his nowhere land,
making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
Doesn’t have a point of view.
Knows not where he’s going to.
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

    But then he became a leader. With a vision.

    He decided to add form—a muscular form– to his shape and color—a vibrant, lively brilliance- to his shade. He accepted personal responsibility. He renounced the status quo. He established a goal. He created a compelling plan that shaped the future. And he colored his present behavior to stay on track. One step at a time.

   The newly-minted leader took his daily dose of exercise as if it were medicine that tasted so bad it had to be good. Continue reading “Running: An Exercise in Leadership”

Stub your Toe? Get Up ‘n Go

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you smile in the face of immediate adversity. Reading time 2:55.

     You got off on the wrong foot. You stumbled out of the block. Now you’re sure your project is doomed.

jack nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus

     Well cheer up! The most effective leaders battle back from tough starts. They stub their toe and get back up and go. Consider that:

      PABLO PICASSO was born dead.  His uncle –a physician- tried an innovative approach (breathing cigar smoke into the baby’s nostrils to shock the newborn’s lungs) and revived him. Picasso, the 20th century’s most innovative artist, turned a tough start into spectacular show over his lifetime.

      So did the following six sports legends.

   Jack Nicklaus

       JACK NICKLAUS,  the greatest professional golfer of all time, took his first swing as a professional golfer and drowned his golf ball. He hit his drive into the water.  From that pro exhibition match in Miami, Nicklaus went on to win a record 18 major tournaments including six Masters Championships, five PGA Championships, four US Opens and three British Opens. That’s two more than the combined total of Arnold Palmer (7) and Gary Player (9) and three times as many as Lee Trevino (6).  Tiger Woods (14) needs five more major victories to unseat Nicklaus.

 Lou Gehrig

       LOU GEHRIG struck out in his first at bat in the major leagues—on three straight pitches. Yet Gehrig went on to set 45 major league baseball records, including a then-record 2,130 starts over a 14-year span. Continue reading “Stub your Toe? Get Up ‘n Go”

LEAVE IT To the BEAVER in You

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you cope with adverse circumstances. Reading time: 3:26.

    You lost a big account. You were passed over for that big promotion. And now you feel like you’re being pushed down the proverbial Blame-and-Shame River,  drowning in your sorrows and kicking in your despair.

      Stop! Dam it. And beaver_looking_cameraleave it to the beaver in you.

     Build a dam over those chaotic circumstances in your life,  just like a beaver does naturally and systematically.

     Take control  like a beaver. Push back  against that river.  Prop yourself up against that stream. And  create a new, more viable environment where  grasses and water plants now flourish and where the brush and willows along the shore now attract deer.

     That’s what leaders do: they create more viable working environments. Especially when the circumstances they find are lousy.  Then these beavers leaders create their own  circumstances as playwright George Bernard Shaw once observed:

    “People are always blaming
their circumstances for what they are.
I don’t believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world
are the people who get up and look
for the circumstances they want and
if they can’t find them, make them.” Continue reading “LEAVE IT To the BEAVER in You”

Carpe Diem: Just DUE It Today

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you complete your goals on time. Reading time: 2:56

          You’re exhausted. You already pulled an all-nighter launching this new product and now you’ll be up at least another 24 hours chasing elusive customers, and combating critical media at this major industry convention.

        63 Hours Of No Sleepcharles lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh Time Magazine's first Man of the Year in 1927
Charles Lindbergh Time Magazine’s first Man of the Year in 1927

            The next time you find yourself in this exasperating situation, think of the 25-year-old who had also been up 24 straight hours and who then launched what turned out to be a 33 hour ordeal fighting certain death if he had fallen asleep.

        Charles Lindbergh, in a 63-hour stretch of no sleep, flew his way into the history books and on to the cover of Time Magazine as its first Man of the Year in 1927 after becoming the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

       Carpe Diem: Seize the Day.

        That’s what Charles Lindbergh. did in demonstrating a key leadership skill: Leaders take action despite the circumstances. They DUE it more than simply do it. Continue reading “Carpe Diem: Just DUE It Today”