The last few days I’ve spent attending a simulcast of the 2016 Global Leadership Summit. While there were many things that really stuck out to me throughout the entire conference, the thing that stuck out to me the most was one of the talks about execution. Chris McChesney discussed the idea of how there are only 4 things needed to make anything fly: Weight, Lift, Drag, and Thrust.The thing that stuck out to me was the simplicity of it all. How often do we end up overthinking or make things more complicated then they need to be?
If I was honest with myself I probably make most parts of life way too complicated. Yet in trying to do more or in trying to do it better or more complicated, I forget to just do things. If I just stuck to doing a couple of things really well I’m sure I’d actually be more productive in the end than trying and failing to do a lot of things. It seems much more manageable to look at life in the most simple of forms. Instead of thinking of life in the context of overly complicated systems there seems to be an underlying set of simplistic rules that if focused on would make everything better.
One of the areas I have really been thinking about lately is relationships. It seems pretty obvious that we as humans are fairly social individuals. Yet at least in my life there isn’t always a purpose or a clear intention behind how I interact with others. Being intentionally relational seems counter intuitive to the spontaneous chaos that so many people love about life. However, I believe if we’re serious about our relationships and look at how we interact and relate to one another there is clearly room for improvement.
Most of my relationships seem to be mostly focused about myself. What does this person do for me? What do I get for being friends with this person? How does this person make me feel? Something tells me that if I’m intentional and looking to improve my relationships, the questions will switch from me to them. How can I help this person? What are they struggling with? What are they passionate about? In changing the conversation to be less about me and more about them it creates a paradigm in which if I’m fulfilling something in their life, then they are more likely to be fulfilling something in my life. By searching for deeper and more meaningful relationships we open ourselves up to create better relationships. We go from surface level relationships to understanding what truly drives and motivates other people. We begin to experience life with them. We begin to see the true, deep, vulnerable soul they hold inside.
Yet this difference isn’t limited to just people we know. It can also be with complete strangers. Taking the time to stop and smile can have a huge impact on the employee and a store or restaurant that seems a little stressed. Opening a door or offering to help a co-worker begins to create a culture of service instead of selfishness. One of the sayings on leadership I’ve always meditated on is that in order to be a leader you have to be someone willing to lead but also need to be someone others want to follow. Put another way, nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
While I’m not sure what all the long term outlooks and changes and challenges from this conference will be, I know that one of the big things I’m looking at right now is how to simplify my life and how I can be intentionally relational. For when we begin to address the basics tenants of life, we’re able to take our lives to a whole different level. When we focus on the core main tenants of life and when we make it simple like becomes simple. Simple is good.