June 18, 2024

June Energy

Spartan Warrior, LLP


Connection = Impact

In May we dug deeper into the concept that at it’s core, leadership is about influence. Fundamentally, everyone is a leader because at any given moment you are either leading yourself or you are influencing the person you are interacting with. The real bottom line here is, are you influencing yourself and others by CHOICE or by default? One involves being purposeful while the other is purely reactive. Leadership is never constrained by the number of direct reports you have or if you have direct reports! I often hear people lament, “I just don’t know if I’m making an impact.” Sure, there are outcome based ways to figure that out such as performance scorecards but in truth, some of the most significant impacts that you make through life, you may never even know about. Ooooofffff. Scary thought, yes? Those impacts can be uplifting or damaging and that’s why it is SO IMPORTANT to live every moment with full purpose, engagement and attention. In other words, just be present! This month I want to share a bit more about the ripple effect of your influence.


Impact You Never New You Had

I’ve been blessed to periodically receive feedback long after the fact and want to share two of them with you to illustrate my point: BE PRESENT and live purposefully in every moment. In the summer of 1982, I was a Yearling (sophomore) at West Point and experiencing summer training at Camp Buckner. One of the many physically demanding aspects of this training involved an obstacle course with a variety of challenging obstacles. I’d completely forgotten about this until a classmate greeted me at a West Point Women’s Reunion for my graduating class. It had been 37 years since I’d seen this classmate. As I walked in to the reception she ran up to me, gave me a big hug, and said “I was so excited when I heard you’d be attending; I have to tell you what an impact you’ve had on my life!”
She excitedly went on to remind me about that obstacle course and more specifically, the last obstacle. It was a series of parallel bars that were about 3.5-4.5 feet off the ground. We had to negotiate our way over them without touching them with our arms or hands. There were cadre (West Point seniors) monitoring the course to ensure every obstacle was cleared correctly.
A flash of memory hit me as she described it. Yeah, I very much remembered. I recall being happy to see the last obstacle until I saw the cadet in front of me inadvertently touch the bar with his hand as he lost balance stepping over it. The Firstie (senior) told him he had to go back to the previous obstacle. My heart sank as I approached the obstacle….being on the petite side…my mind was scrambling to figure out how to get over those bars without touching them with my arms or hands!
As this memory flashed in front of me, my classmate continued excitedly explaining that she barely got through it and realized that I was coming up behind her and worried about how I would get through it. She stood in the wood line and watched me. From her vantage point, she saw me run up to the first bar, stand there a moment, then hook my leg over the top of the bar, then bend DOWN and with my planted leg, hurl myself over the bar rolling over it on my stomach and landing on my back on the ground. I then repeated that on the next bar until I cleared the obstacle. Again, I’d forgotten about that detail until she described it as if it had happened yesterday. I remembered how exhausted I felt and the only thing I could think of was using momentum to propel myself over. I remember putting my hands on my head to avoid making the same mistake as the cadet before me.
My classmate continued to share that she was so amazed at the creativity and strength it took for me to get over those bars that it burned into her memory and for the rest of her life, whenever she was confronted with something she didn’t think she could do, she would remember me figuring out a way to be successful that day. I never knew that she had been watching me. I never knew that she had been inspired by me.
A few days ago, a former employee commented on a post I shared on my Facebook page. He reflected on the time that we worked together. He said that I always made him feel important and thanked me for doing that.
One of my favorite things to do is engage with people. Maybe that gives me an advantage because I truly love people; they’re fascinating, exciting, sometimes challenging, always energizing, sometimes funny and always messy. While not everyone shares that perspective, everyone CAN be purposeful in every interaction. Taking that extra second to shake off whatever stress you’re experiencing and fully focus on that person, not just what they’re saying but why and more importantly, what they’re not saying. People want to be heard and valued. Simply being genuine and giving them that respect of being heard and valued goes a long way. In this case, YEARS.
Connection does not mean agreement or approval or any type of judgment. Connection is person to person engagement and focus. This is the ripple effect of influence and brings to light the reality that much of the impact you make in your life may never be fully known to you! Not being known to you doesn’t mean that it didn’t or isn’t happening. I hope this changes your perspective about how much and what type of impact you are having in this world. Maybe this provides an opportunity for you to reflect and slow down the pace of your day, just a bit. The next time you wonder, “Am I making an impact,” answer the question for yourself by reflecting on your interactions; were you fully engaged and focused and were you purposeful in valuing the person? When I shared with that former employee that I’d like to use his comment in this newsletter and offered to keep his quote anonymous, he insisted that I use his name. He said that he stands by what he said. And that’s the moment that I had to take a few minutes to sit, be quiet, and reflect on my own interactions and use his kind feedback as my fuel to always improve. Nobody is perfect. Remember that reflection is for the purpose of learning, growth and improvement. Let go of the stumbles and always focus forward.


Benefits of Connection

In a recent article in the Ramsey Report by Dr. John Delony, author and mental health expert, he cited that despite our technological advancements and ability to “be connected” with thousands of people 24 hours per day, we have a growing epidemic: loneliness! Yes, it turns out that actual connection is more than random social media interactions with strangers and more than texts between friends. What are the results of a society plagued with loneliness? According to recent studies, the stress of disconnection contributes to addiction, anxiety, depression, heart disease, obesity and a suppressed immune system.
So, how can we be such a technology connected society yet have so many people suffering from a lack of connection?
Social media and other digital platforms are not connection; nor is simply exchanging information. Connection IS, and yes I am hammering a point here, being present in the moment with another person…listening to them and valuing them. Everyone can improve their level of connection. If you find interacting with people to be challenging, it’s time to stretch yourself. Take a look at these simple things that you can put into action today and start practicing them. Pick at least ONE from the list and start TODAY.

Connecting 101

  1. Take care of yourself! This should not surprise you; how can you be your best for others if you aren’t being at your best for yourself?
  2. Be purposeful. Make the person a priority in that moment, whether it’s a chance 5 minute encounter or a 30 minute meeting that you scheduled. Clear your mind, release any baggage (stress) that you’re carrying and think about how you want the other person to feel at the end of the encounter with you.
  3. Put your phone down. I think we can all agree that there’s nothing more annoying that trying to talk to someone who either has their face buried in their phone screen or keeps picking up their phone to “just answer this one text.” Connection requires focus.
  4. Look people in the eye. Simply look at the person you are interacting with. You don’t have to be creepy about it but you do need to let the person know with your eye contact that you are paying attention.
  5. Ask questions. In order to ask good questions you have to LISTEN to what the person is saying and be attentive to what they’re not saying. Both require focus and being present in the moment.

Summer is the Perfect Time to Optimize Your Health

Pat is getting ready to start his transition to the Maintenance phase of our program while I have been moving in that direction already for about two weeks. Since the first week in January, our results have been astounding! We are two examples of how this program works well for anyone, since Pat did zero exercise and I maintained my lifting and running regimen.
* Pat: 65 lbs lost with 42lbs of that being body fat
* Me: 24 lbs lost and 7.7% body fat lost
Other non-scale benefits: no more knee pain for Pat and reduced back pain! Improved running performance for me and huge increase in energy.
How did we do it? By leveraging a great program that is both simple, natural, and convenient. With 65 less lbs to lug around, Pat is now enjoying exercise and recently started his strength training journey.
This approach has many programs available. Is one right for you? Let’s find out! Click on the image and write Health Assessment in the contact prompts. The Health Assessment is brief and FREE. No gimmicks, no pills, no drugs, no pressure! The only way to fail on this journey is to never start.
Invest in your longevity. Ensure that you are vibrant with optimal health not only for yourself but for your family. Health is truly wealth!

Diane Wilhelm
Live Life with Purpose

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