Yesterday I got to taste some of the cleanest, freshest, coldest water I will have in my entire life. I didn’t realize that at first.

I was about seven miles into a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I was out of water. I had passed some dead and stagnant pools of water that I can draw from in an emergency but was holding out for a better source.

Near the top of the ridge I passed over a small stream and so there wasn’t much water there. At first, I was a little incredulous. To draw enough water I was going to have to hike down at least 25 or 50 vertical feet and slowly fill up my water filter.

I sullenly hiked down. It wasn’t until I got further down I realized that the stream was small because that was the spring bubbling out of the side of the mountain. This was living water. I was as close to drinking cold, fresh and pure water as I could be.

But my perspective had to change.

  1. I had to literally get down so I could observe that this wasn’t a small muddy stream but a fresh spring
  2. When I got down I realized that there was as much water that as I needed
  3. I had to change my mindset to realize that this was a privilege and not an inconvenience.

The stream I came across wasn’t good enough, the spring I drew from was the best. The only difference was my perspective.

As a leader to anyone the only thing you earn solving a problem is the privilege to solve a bigger problem.

Big problems mean you’ve had big earnings.

The highest performance athletes all have a common thread in their workout structure. Over the course of a week, they have at least one “easy” workout day and one recovery day — typically no workout.

Why?

To perform at the top of the game you have to give your body time to heal itself and let muscles grow back stronger. If you only workout you’ll only tear up your muscles and never give them time to grow back larger.

Incredibly, this is true in the workplace as well, as high performing individuals tend to take more time off than their less productive counterparts.

As you look forward to a holiday weekend don’t try to outwork the other guy by working an entire holiday. Think about how you can give your mind and body the time and space to recover, to recharge, so that you grow stronger.

in many (most? all?) areas of life there are two areas that you will be judged on:

results: how well did you do, especially compared against a reasonable goal or standard.

how you treat people: were you kind? did you go the extra mile when it mattered to a person?

how early you rose, how late you stayed, how much you sacrificed — all of these are apparitions. they are void of all meaning without results and treating people beyond well.

Beyond success lies the place where you are the most you that you can be.

Spend time each day thinking about who that person is, what they are like, what they do, how they do it, why they do it.

Focus on that person and success will be a milestone on your way to your goals.

(If you don’t like that person, this would be a good time to imagine a different person!)

Acting professional does not make you professional.

Being a professional will lead you to act professionally.

There are two words in the English language you should use regularly, “thank you.” There are two words you should use to respond to that, “you’re welcome.”

Not “no problem.”

It was a problem.

Maybe it was a small problem.

Maybe it was a big problem.

You don’t know what size problem it was to the speaker who told you, “thank you.”

But your action, large or small, solved their problem.

“You’re welcome,” accepts their payment of appreciation. “No problem,” declines it.

Let them pay you with appreciation.