Why Leaders Need An Orbital Perspective

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The Orbital Perspective

Live on this planet long enough and you will have an experience that changes your life perspective. Whether its watching someone heroically battle a disease or your own near-death experience, these moments linger in our memories and impact our future.

Ron Garan also had a life-altering experience, but not one on planet Earth and not one most of us will personally experience. Col. Ron Garan is an astronaut who has logged 71 million miles in orbit. On the International Space Station, Ron was struck by the fact that 15 nationalities collaborated on creating an engineering feat in space. His perspective shifted as he gazed back at our planet, realizing that we needed to apply the same creativity to working together for the good of our world.

Garan, Ron

I had the opportunity to ask Col. Garan questions about his work, his experience, and his new perspective. His recent book, The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles, gives us the opportunity to glimpse into a new view of our potential.

 

“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth, only crewmates.” -Ron Garan

 

What is the “Orbital Perspective”? 

The Orbital Perspective is a call to action to shift our perspective from looking at things as they affect us locally, in the short term, to how they affect us globally over the long-term. It’s a shift from looking at the next election campaign or quarterly report to looking at the 20-year plan and beyond. It’s the acknowledgement that each and every one of us is riding through the universe together on this spaceship that we call Earth, that we are all interconnected and family. It’s the understanding that there are no passengers on Spaceship Earth, only crewmates and as crewmates we have a responsibility to mind the ship and take care of our fellow crewmates. It’s the acknowledgment of the sobering contradiction we see when we view our planet from space between the amazing beauty of our Earth and the unfortunate realities of life on our planet for a significant number of its inhabitants. It’s the firm belief that nothing is impossible — that it is within our power to eliminate the suffering and conflict that exist on our planet and that we do not have to accept the status quo. Above all else, the orbital perspective is the acknowledgement that we need each other. The days are long gone where we can effect the type of change that’s required by adhering to the old way of doing things or having a go it alone attitude.

 

“The orbital perspective is the acknowledgement that we need each other.” -Ron Garan

 

Journey into Space

It’s May 31, 2008. You are about to journey into space. You say you were surprised at how calm you felt as you were “strapped to four and a half million pounds of explosives.” How did that feel?STS-124 Launch White Room

I did say that in the book, but then I go on to say, “Sitting there, I felt some apprehension, of course. But I was also reassured by the idea that what we were about to do would make a contribution to humanity and, at this point, that the outcome of the launch was largely out of our hands.” To me, it was a risk-benefit tradeoff. In this case the benefits greatly outweighed the risk. I also wondered what I was getting myself into.

Describe the first time you looked down at Earth. Was it different than you expected?

The thing that really struck me when I looked at the Earth for the first time from space was how thin our atmosphere is. It was very sobering to think that the paper-thin layer of our atmosphere is keeping every living thing on our planet alive. But also the overwhelming emotion was intense gratitude. Gratitude for being given the opportunity to experience that perspective and gratitude for the gift of our indescribably beautiful fragile oasis we call home. The view was basically what I expected; the emotion that is caused was not.

 

“Working together multiplies cost effectiveness while reducing duplication of effort.” -Ron Garan

 

The Importance of the Worm’s Eye View

How the Next 48 Days Can Transform Your Life

No More Mondays

Several years ago, I met Dan Miller, the author of 48 Days To The Work You LoveNo More Mondays and When Wisdom Meets Passion. Dan specializes in helping people find meaningful work, creative thinking, and achieving success. You may have seen him on The Early Show on CBS, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox Business News, or the Dave Ramsey Show. Or maybe you didn’t catch any of those traditional media appearances, but know Dan from his books, his weekly newsletter or his widely popular podcast.

If you meet Dan, you will notice an unassuming, humble man who seems just as comfortable standing alone as engaging in a conversation with a group. He radiates a knowing, a wisdom that is easily perceived if you are looking for it.

Not too long ago, I sat down with Dan to seek some of that wisdom to share it with you.

Don’t Settle for Comfortable

Did you know that on Monday mornings there is a 33% greater chance of having a heart attack? Researchers speculate it is due to the stress of returning to work. Dan and I talk about his book No More Mondays.

Why do most people settle for jobs that make them miserable? Dan shares why we often stay in what he calls “comfortable misery.”

How do you develop and pursue your passion? Dan explains that many people use a lost job as a wake-up call and opportunity.

Finally, since Dan has built one of the most successful platforms in the industry, I ask Dan how others can build a personal brand.

Here are just a few of my favorite Dan Miller quotes:

 

“Passion is more developed than discovered.” –Dan Miller

 

“Continual learning is the key to continual living.” –Dan Miller

 

“If we have no identity apart from our jobs, we are truly vulnerable.” –Dan Miller

 

“In today’s work arena, creativity may be more of an asset than competence.” –Dan Miller

 

“The loss of a job may be the wake up-call needed to redeem the fire of your genius.” –Dan Miller

 

“Choosing to associate with positive, optimistic people will accelerate our positive growth.” –Dan Miller

 

“Don’t wait on perfect conditions for success to happen; just go ahead and do something.” –Dan Miller

 

“Have you ever noticed that even if God allows you to have a dream, you’re expected to work to make it happen?” –Dan Miller

 

“Unfounded fears about your competence and abilities can cripple your unique talents and gifts, which are waiting to be released.” –Dan Miller

 

“The key to success is to be true to who you really are.” –Dan Miller

 

“No individual can achieve worthy goals without accepting accountability for his or her own actions.” –Dan Miller

The Dangers of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Dog Sleeping With Alarm Clock And Sleeping Mask

For most of my life, I have struggled with getting enough sleep. When I tell people how little I sleep, they are complimentary. They generally see that it is the reason I am able to be a CEO and still read so many books. I consider myself a high-functioning insomniac because most people are not able to tell when I am tired.

So all good, right?

Not so fast.

I would gladly give all of that up for solid sleep, every single night. Getting little sleep is not a badge of honor. It is not something to brag about.

Not getting enough sleep can range from an occasional annoyance to a serious issue requiring medical help.  Sleep better and you increase your productivity, your odds of success, and your ability to lead.

Success Factor: Getting Enough Sleep

Do you get enough sleep?

 

 

“A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” –Leonardo da Vinci

 

There are numerous ways to improve your sleep habits, but recognizing whether you have a sleep issue is the first step.

Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

Here are a few of the dangers of not getting enough sleep:

  1. Increased chance of injury
  2. Decreased performance
  3. Impaired brain and heart function
  4. Likelihood of gaining weight
  5. Impaired memory
  6. Shorter life!
  7. Decreased immunity
  8. Increased stress
  9. Increased anxiety
  10. Lowered productivity
  11. Troubled relationships
  12. Mood swings
  13. Diminished response time
  14. Increased chance of blurting something out at a meeting that you regret or mumbling incoherently to yourself (no, really, I have no experience with this)
  15. Difficulty focusing or listening
  16. Decreased effectiveness
  17. Increased chance of getting sick

That’s quite a list. And you could easily add more in the comments.

 

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” –W.C. Fields

 

So how about you? Do you sleep well or struggle? Do you think it is a leadership and performance issue?

Do you have sleep problems?

 

So, what to do?  There are numerous ways to get more sleep.  I have plenty of experience with most of them.  Before I share my list, I wanted to learn from you.  Help me out.  Share your tips on how to get a good night’s rest in the comments or send me an email, tweet, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn comment.

 

 

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Listening for Spring

“Deep in the woods, I listen for the hushed whispers of spring.” -Skip Prichard

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Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life

Senior Couple Putting On In Line Skates In Park

Refire!

Most of us are looking forward to retirement. When that day finally arrives, what’s next?

Do you know someone who has recently retired and is struggling with lack of purpose?

How do you make the rest of your life meaningful and impactful?

Bestselling author Ken Blanchard of The One Minute Manager and psychologist Dr. Morton Shaevitz don’t believe in chance meetings. When they met on a flight from San Diego to New York, the two discussed the issues of aging.  Instead of the “best years are behind us” approach they decided to write a book about making life in your later years more meaningful than ever.

 

“Retiring suggests shutting down. Refiring means engaging in life.” -@DrMHShaevitz

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Morton Shaevitz about the new book Refire! Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life.

Reframing Retirement

Many people think “retirement” is the happy destination. Your new bookRefire! Don’t Retire gives different advice.  What does it mean to refire?

Refiring is a process where the primary focus is not on career advancement, financial gain, or specific types of achievements, but rather, healthy living, warm and significant relationships, continued learning and cognitive growth, vitality and meaningful involvement, and the development of a personal sense of spirituality. Retiring suggests shutting down. Refiring means engaging in life.

 

Refire Emotionally

  1. You start with “refiring emotionally.” Why is that first?

There isn’t any particular reason this was first, but being socially isolated has been shown to contribute to emotional and physical decline. So that makes it a good jumping off point. Identifying those people who are meaningful in our lives, building stronger connections, reaching out to new people, opening up, and getting close can also sometimes help to establish a good foundational support system for your refiring process.

 

Fact: Being socially isolated contributes to emotional and physical decline.