The Best Leaders – Always Present and Invisible

Yesterday, the leadership of Greater Nashville REALTORS orchestrated a fantastic day of learning and colleagueship (fellowship) for our members.

Traditionally, this association has been on a rhythm of quarterly “Membership Luncheons” at Nashville Music City Center (Our prized Convention Center in the Heart of the City). These luncheons were just that – Lunch – With a “key-note speaker” . . . The whole thing was @ an hour and a half, and had limited possibilities for attendees to interact with each other.

YESTERDAY was #NASHONOMICS! (Google that hashtag for comments and photos) . . . WOW! 4 great “Panels of Experts” AND a Lunch Keynote Presentation by the National Association of REALTORS Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. The sessions were:

  • A look at Greater Nashville’s infrastructure, workforce, and economic development pipeline
  • Affordable Housing and the effect on economic development
  • How to tell valuable stories with data that builds your business
  • Navigating downtown Nashville Commercial real estate

For sure, this Quarterly meeting was not like the others in so many ways. It was totally about informing our local REALTORS in ALL facets of the Middle Tennessee economy.

This meeting was a true gift to our membership in SO many ways . . . Here are a few of my take-aways:

  • The Leadership was largely invisible excepting 4 – The President for the Opening and Closing, and 3 who facilitated the panels.
  • The format was such that the membership had the ability to mingle and connect with each other and were able to directly interact with the panelists (Nice Flow).
  • The information shared was candid, timely, relevant, and IMPORTANT.
  • More members showed up than any others I’ve attended (I think a record of @ 650 of 5,000 Members)

There seemed to be common theme that wasn’t the stated theme.

In all of the sessions, I picked up on some frustration that the panelists were dancing around but not named . . . until the final session. There was this pervasive undertone that “Nashville’s Leadership” was hindering – not helping the growth and development of Nashville.

“We need enlightened leadership”

“We need forward thinking Leaders”

“Nashville has a “Crisis of Leadership”

Incidentally . . . I was not aware of ANY of the Political “Leaders” in attendance (I don’t know if they were invited).

People are baffled by the failed Transit plan and the lack of any evidence that a revised plan is in the works.

The City Leaders are “obstructing” healthy growth.

It’s not clear what direction this city is heading – “Bourbon Street – or “Business District”

How do we resolve the simple fact that there are more jobs than “workers” in many essential industries (Hospitality, Construction, Hospital, & etc.)

What of the MNPS Metro Nashville Public School System which is (and has always been) experiencing a crisis of leadership?

Oh! There’s more . . . but I can’t devote this whole morning to this blog post.

Essentially, the “Private Sector” is driving the growth of Nashville and consider the politicians to be obstructionists.

This is a classic example of “Leaders” who are deaf and blind to their constituents while the real work progresses despite their ineptitude. We all just want them to get out of the way, and let us take the wheel.

Interesting times, ain’t it?

Final thought . . . I’m thinking the “Leaders of Nashville” think they are “in control . . . They’re egregiously wrong . . . and they’ve never been in control . . . delusions of grandeur!

There now . . . I said it out loud!

and I say more in this morning’s

You’ve heard about this, but did you listen?

We all have a bajillion new concepts and ideas popping into out field of experience daily.

Just think of all of the information that hits us in any given day. We’re surrounded by prolific digital information via Google, Facebook, Email, Videos, Podcasts . . . not to mention the never ending intrusion of information and ideas from the people around us who are equally bombarded and feel compelled to tell us all about these cool things, they’ve heard about by the prolific digital information via Google, Facebook, Email, Videos, Podcasts . . . not to mention the never ending intrusion of information and ideas the people around them who are equally bombarded and feel compelled to tell us all about these cools things, they’ve heard about – and so on – and so on – and so on.

It’s not surprising to me that most people are lucky to have the attention span of a gnat.

It’s also not surprising that most people fail to gain a full understanding of any new concept that shows up while our attention is passing through.

Instead of knowledge, we’re archiving bytes that arm us with words that impress others.

The fact that we can “google” just about anything we don’t understand in a nano-second doesn’t help much because we usually forget what it was we were looking for before we complete the query.

This has taught us NOT to pay attention when we hear words that we’ve heard before even if we don’t understand their meaning.

This is our RAS (Reticular Activating System) . . . an information sorting part of our brains. The RAS programs our brains . . . It’s VERY powerful. When you buy a new car, you start seeing LOTS of cars just like the one you bought (Even the same COLOR) because the RAS is filtering out all of the cars that aren’t like your new car.

This is a fun happening, but the RAS can also be self-limiting.

How many words or thoughts do you s’pose are programmed into your mind that might instill fear, or insecurity, or dread, or counter-productivity?

The RAS does not differentiate “Healthy” from “Destructive/Harmful” . . . It only knows the data – the words and images. When the RAS ‘s program detects that you are fearful, it does the only thing it knows to do . . . If filters out all thoughts that are not that fear . . . resulting in drawing you into the fear rather than giving you the tools to find safety.

What we focus on expands because of the RAS.

When we focus on the bad things that could/might happen – They do!

When we focus on the GOOD things that could/might happen – They DO!

Pay attention to what’s going into you head because it matters.

Be grateful!

Be nice!

Be humble!

Be kind!

Be generous!

Believe in abundance!

What goes in . . . comes out!

Your Azimuth!

Having a map may not get you there!

Not having a map might get you there.

When you leave here, do you know where you want to go?

So . . . You know where you want to go . . . Do you know how to get there?

If not, we have lots of ways to help us navigate from here to there:

Maps can be handy, but they may not get us there efficiently or possibly not at all because they are static. A map is not more than a description of the territory as it was when the map was drawn. Maps are not dynamic, and I saw proof of that when I was in the Army. We frequently practiced land navigation (AKA Orienteering) . Each person (or team) would receive a Topographical Map of the AO (Area of Operations) and a compass. Our task was to go from Point A to Point B then to point C etc until we reached the objective. Invariably, there would be surprises along the way like the swamp that was only a swamp in the rainy season (Spring) . . . Apparently, the map was not drawn in the Spring, because there was no indication of a swamp on the map. Some folks became disoriented (LOST in the woods) and would radio in to HQ and ask for help . . . which always resulted in HQ firing back the question: “Where are you?” to which the vulnerable lostie would be forced to respond: “I don’t know!” HQ would then respond: “Find the tallest tree on the highest hill near you. Climb to the top of that tree and swing back & forth. We will watch the map very carefully and will see the waving tree where you are.” This was always hilarious to everyone but the lostie.

Don’t confuse the map with the territory – They can be vastly different.

Ah! Now we have GPS – and even better . . . WAZE which is very close to “real time” mapping. This can be helpful when surprises emerge on the path ahead – Waze automatically re-routes around said obstacle – Easy!

BUT . . . Because of this ease of re-routing . . . and advertisements, and billboards, it is now easier than ever to wander off-course . . . to distract us from our mission.

Seth Godin Put the icing on the cake of where I was going with all of the above with this magnificent Story:

The compass and the map

Wouldn’t it be great if we always had a map? A set of step-by-step instructions on how to get from here to there, wherever we were and wherever wanted to go…

Steve Pressfield relates this magical story:

A Ghurka rifleman escaped from a Japanese prison in south Burma and walked six hundred miles alone through the jungles to freedom. The journey took him five months, but he never asked the way and he never lost the way. For one thing he could not speak Burmese and for another he regarded all Burmese as traitors. He used a map and when he reached India he showed it to the Intelligence officers, who wanted to know all about his odyssey. Marked in pencil were all the turns he had taken, all the roads and trail forks he has passed, all the rivers he had crossed. It had served him well, that map. The Intelligence officers did not find it so useful. It was a street map of London.

I love this story.

Happy endings come from an understanding of the compass, not the presence of a useful map.

If you’ve got the wrong map, the right compass will get you home if you know how to use it.

Where are you headed?

It’s not that I don’t like people, but . . .

I sure get a LOT done on those days most other people are taking the day off.

My plan for the week was to stay focused with my normal FLOW Monday-Thursday . . . and clean up of my accumulated messes today – Good Friday!

Such a fabulous plan that was. Knowing this would be 4 days instead 5 for FLOW, I was super intentional all week and accomplished all goals for the week.

This morning felt great because my work for the week was completed before the day started. I arrived in the office at 7:00 AM and dived into the project I’d been avoiding for weeks thinking that I would be lucky to make any reasonable dent in unraveling the fiasco, but I had hope.

3 hours later, I COMPLETED all of the work that needed to be done!

The magic ingredient?

Not a single interruption by any other human . . . 3 hours of pure focus.

Here’s the kicker!

ANYONE can experience this phenomenon any and all days of the week . . . even YOU!

Most people won’t because they’re more about what they can’t do rather what they CAN do!

Imagine the possibilities that might emerge if you were to have 3 hours of hyper-productivity at the start of every working day.

You can do this with just a few necessary adjustments to your routine.

  • Schedule it as an appointment (Time Block)
  • Alert all of your peeps who are accustomed to popping into your office at a whim that’s no longer a thing during that block of time.
  • Show up! (on time)
  • Do NOT open email or Facebook
  • Make this a habit

Apply – Lather – Rinse – Repeat
Apply – Lather – Rinse – Repeat
Apply – Lather – Rinse – Repeat
Apply – Lather – Rinse – Repeat
Apply – Lather – Rinse – Repeat

Pros and Cons List – Happy Edition

When we are wrestling with important decisions, we seek clarity.

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I buy this?

Is this “worth it”? (Time – Energy – Money)

What’s the “Opportunity Cost” of opting for this instead of that?

Is my judgement clouded by FOMO? (Fear of missing out)

Who else cares about this? Should I consult with them before making a decision?

What do the reviews say?

So many questions, and the “deadline” looms.

Maybe it’s time to do a Pros and Cons List. Grab a sheet of paper – Draw a Vertical line right down the middle, and label the left side “Pros” and the right side “Cons” . . .



Title this: “Reasons why: If I do/buy this, I will be;

Decide accordingly!