Have you ever had really a powerful experience? Not an emotional experience, but a powerful experience, the kind of experience that as you look back, just might be a turning point?
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a mastermind session. If you aren’t aware of what a mastermind is, I’d encourage you to look it up. This was my first mastermind experience and I found it to be a powerful accelerator in my own personal and professional development.
A “mastermind” is a small group of like-minded people who dedicate themselves to helping each other succeed in a specific goal.
This particular mastermind session was hosted by Michael Hyatt, Stu McLaren, and Amy Porterfield. It was a one-day event that these three “Platform Masterminds” generously donated in order to help five of us take our personal platforms to the next level. As I have reviewed my notes and contemplated my key takeaways, I have discovered three key things I learned that I believe just might impact the rest of my life.
1. Create Wow – in all aspects of your life
In his book Platform, Michael describes the power of Wow and encourages his readers to invest in making it happen. I’m not sure anybody would argue with this. It seems like conventional wisdom. If you delight your clients, you will build loyalty and build buzz.
I had no idea about Wow! Michael lives Wow. I was able to witness it first-hand. Throughout this one-day event, Michael and the team went over and above in order to exceed expectations, but what really blew me away was that Michael, Stu, and Amy created a Wow experience in a situation where they had very little to gain. They had volunteered their time to help the participants: that was already over and above.
It struck me that Wow is a way of life. It’s looking for opportunities to create that exceptional experience for everyone you encounter. It’s not just about creating the experience for your clients. It’s about doing it for your employees, doing it for your wife, your kids, and those that are involved with the charity you support.
I learned a life lesson about living an integrated life from this experience. Wow should bleed from all aspects of your life. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and if it’s worth doing well, there are probably opportunities for Wow.
2. Be Raw, Be Real – in all aspects of your life
I had a singular goal going into this mastermind. I wanted to gain clarity around how my personal efforts on this blog integrate with 3Pillar and my day job as CEO.
I began this blog as a means for capturing lessons learned and thoughts about my journey as the founder and CEO of 3Pillar. I found it useful to reflect on and articulate the lessons I am learning. Over time I noticed that more people than I would have guessed found my experiences interesting and that these experiences were valuable to others.
As someone who has benefited greatly from learning from some incredible leaders, I became intrigued with the idea that I could pass this favor forward. I began to contemplate how to leverage my blog more effectively to reach others – both those inside and outside of my immediate circle of influence.
Then, several months ago, 3Pillar began to focus our efforts on raising the profile of the company. Through those efforts, several people have challenged me to raise my personal profile for the benefit of the company.
I am not naturally inclined to the spotlight but do not necessarily mind it either. I love to lead and inspire teams to reach new heights that would otherwise be impossible. I’m more than pleased to let others take the credit or have the spotlight.
Leading from behind is a strength and a skill that has its place. As CEO, though, sometimes that approach needs to be blended with a more out-front leadership style. I have become intentional about putting myself out there a bit more in order to help take the company to new heights.
As I began to invest in my own profile, I began to fear the ramifications. Would I appear to be an egotistical leader who was using the company to promote his own image? Would I say something publicly that would compromise my teammates? Would those in the market confuse my personal opinion with the company’s position? How would our employees react to the increased transparency of what’s going on in my head?
I went to this mastermind looking for clarity. How could I distinguish my 3Pillar efforts from my personal brand, while still allowing my personal image to promote and enhance 3Pillar? I wanted to learn Michael’s secret and how he successfully navigated life as a CEO-blogger and significantly increased the visibility of publisher Thomas Nelson in the process.
I went looking to draw a line and I wound up with an eraser. There is no boundary. I am who I am. I am a CEO and I am a blogger. I am a husband and a teammate. I am a father and a boss. I am a professional and I am a Christian. I can’t separate these things and it would be disingenuous to try. I am who I am, and the best I can do is to follow my own advice and to live an integrated life — not just when it comes to managing my time, but at the deepest level when it comes to sharing my thoughts and ideas.
Employees don’t want a leader who holds back. They want to know the character of the person leading their company. Readers don’t want a blogger who pontificates theory. They want someone who shares the stories of real life and can identify with what they are going through. My kids don’t want to look back in 20 years and read about a dad who portrays himself as having mastered the art of living an integrated life. I hope and trust they will cherish the stories of how I fought, day in and day out, to do everything in my power to be the best dad I could be.
As you can see, my wheels are turning. This mastermind event has forced me to do some soul searching. Realizations like these have the potential to transform a life. Now it’s time to put the lessons learned into action.