I was recently reminded that people undertake actions or activities and they often don’t realize what they are doing may actually help inspire others. In my most recent Coach’s Huddle with a set group of MSPs from all over the U.S. and one the U.K., I got a really big surprise.
This Is How It Played Out…
A week before the meeting, I received a cool, high-quality stainless steel double wall coffee mug from a member of the huddle named Mike. Now, it is not just any coffee mug, it has a monochromatic picture of me in a suit with a particular Zen-like pose, and below it is listed the most memorable Mannyism (according to Mike, anyway): F#@k All That. He sent it in a Christmas package to my better half, Laura. I thought it was the coolest personalized thing anyone had created for me and I loved it. For the record, F#@k All That! is the term I use in discussions to clear the slate of all the irrelevant and useless fodder so that we can refocus on the important components.
My simple assumption was that while he was spending so much time getting his swag figured out for his upcoming event, he had gone a little overboard and came up with this for the fun of it. What I did not know was that Mike had printed coffee mugs and t-shirts (all with the Zen pose and Mannyism) and then sent them to all of the members of our Coach’s huddle group plus Laura. When the meeting started (video chat), I was the third one to sign in and almost immediately, I recognized that another member David was wearing a t-shirt with the same logo as MY mug. And so was Schyler, and Steve, and Pheona, and… wait, what the @%&#? About then, Laura came up behind me with HER t-shirt on and handed me my new t-shirt.
The whole scenario was funny and deeply energetic for so many reasons. It made me feel very good inside and it inspired me. I was certainly impressed that Mike had gone through all of this trouble, including enlisting Laura and every member of the huddle in secret discussions for weeks ahead, but now what are they going to do with these goofy mugs and t-shirts? Laura and I wore ours all day and even went to the grocery store in them. I do wonder what people were thinking as they looked at the shirt and then at me, possibly wondering who wears a t-shirt with their own face on it? Or what the heck does “F#@k All That” mean?
Here’s The Thing
People are always wondering and often commenting about how no matter what time of day or night it is, there is someone out there sharing something cute, memorable, inspiring, sad, loving, thought provoking, or just emotion invoking in some way. On social media, on a t-shirt, in an email, in a presentation, or even on a napkin. When it comes to social media, some do it more often than others and some do it to the point you want to turn the volume down on them. And those emails, pictures, posts, videos, t-shirts, stickers, tweets and other things frequently make you wonder if these people have anything else in their lives to do. As cynical as I get about it myself sometimes, I believe there is more to it than that.
In today’s world, there is always someone who is in need of these positive energy emissions, these good things. In this big, linked-up, connected world, no one can go through a day without someone they now “know” sharing a tragedy, problem, or suffering of some sort. In today’s world, these emissions of positive energy really can be the soft hands that slow our fall to the bottom when we are the ones who they are meant for. And when I say “meant for,” I do not neccesserily mean that they were created for or targeted by but rather they are those who need that kind of energy at that moment. And what if one of these things is what inspires or motivates someone to do more great things which pass even more positive energy on? All of it is helping turn the world in the right direction and more on balance. And how cool is it if someone is inspired, by you, to do some thing that in turn inspires you onto yet another thing?
I think this is good and it makes me wonder what tomorrow would bring if we all spent less time and energy on the things that set us apart and more on the things that bind us together. Just think what we could solve. Just think.
How Did I Get Inspired?
As it turns out, the first thing I thought of when I saw all of these people in t-shirts with their coffee mugs was the list of Mannyisms a former employee had written up many years ago and how so many of them would look great with that very same picture. A Zen of Coaching-like thing. The list of Mannyisms was actually a list of the most common (not necessarily most noteworthy) sayings he had heard from me over the course of a year working with me. The second thing I thought of was that I should embrace this propaganda machine, this sharing of Mannyisms, The Zen of Coaching. How, you might ask?
Two parts. Part one was to reveal and then continuously cultivate the list of Mannyisms. See below. And the second part was to start a Cafe Press swag shopping site where anyone can now buy The Zen of Coaching swag. But wait, there’s more! The marketing side of it was appealing enough, but it only made sense to me to do it with the greater good in mind. All proceeds from my Cafe Press swag will go to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Yes, there’s a bit of marketing in there, but if it gains any real traction, the cash goes to the kids.
You can check out the Cafe Press site here: http://www.cafepress.com/thezenofcoaching
And if you find a Mannyism from the list below that you’d like to see on a t-shirt, please let me know and I’ll make it happen.
You can email me if you would like to add any Mannyism to the list; I know there are several missing.
Note: If you use any of these in social media, please use the hashtag #Mannyisms
- F#@k all that!
- Are you working today?
- Is there a ticket for that?
- Left to your/our/their own devices….
- What are the ten steps to success?
- If you have reasonable expectations…
- Are you working in real time?
- If it’s not important to you…
- Perfectly clear if previously understood. (From my brother Karl)
- Important tip: Stop doing that!
- Know what you know!
- Command the knowledge.
- Are your notes up to date?
- Are you willing to bet your job on it?
- You can break more sh!t than you fix.
- Can you fix more sh!t than you can break?
- Project begins at START
- I don’t have time to be doing this for you!
- Are you following the process?
- The quality of your communications is in the response.
- We have your best interest in mind.
- Be receptive.
- Be dynamic.
- Be a champion.
- What is the next step? -> WITNS?
- Why hasn’t it been done? -> WHIBD?
- So we’re just gunna stand around talking and collecting a paycheck?
- If you do not pay attention to the detail, there will be no detail.
- The level at which you communicate should be directly proportional to the level at which you operate.
- If you settle for mediocrity, that is exactly what you’ll have.
*Note: This is an incomplete list at best!