Archive for the ‘Really Rotary!’ Category

Mindfulness Over Multi-Tasking

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

A five-week trip to Australia a few years ago left a lasting impact on my life in so many unpredictable ways.
During the adventure, which was funded as a cultural exchange by Rotary International, I was fortunate to stay in 11 different homes to experience life as an Aussie.  One of my most important takeaways from the sojourn was to learn how different the Australian relationship with time and with work are compared to ours in the U.S.

Research has shown us that when we multi-task it takes us 25 percent longer to accomplish a task. That’s right… instead of getting more done in a short period of time, multi-takings, doing two or more things at once, actually lengthens the time that it takes to complete something.

Think about it. You are working away on an email when you remember that you forgot to pull the file for your next meeting. So, you stop working on the email, go over to the filing cabinet, find the file, return with the file to your desk, only to sit down and say to yourself, “What was I doing?  Oh, yeah, I remember now.”  You now have to re-read your half-composed email before finishing and sending it. You know in your gut that you aren’t accomplishing as much as you could.  You secretly wonder what is wrong with you and why you can’t get all of this work finished.

The Aussies would say, “No worries, Mate!” and invite you slow down and do one thing at a time. Also called mindfulness, it is focusing on being present, really, really present, with the one task that you are trying to complete or the one thing that you are doing.

Have you ever had the experience of being so fully engaged and present in a project that you lost all track of time? This is the opposite of multi-tasking- that crazy randomness of doing several things at once.

I learned from my Australian friends that they do what they can do at this moment and they do not worry about the rest. And they do this moment-by-moment.  This results in a more relaxed and easy going demeanor. They experience less stress.

The Australians also know and understand the value of “taking a break, Mate.” (more…)

The First Rule of Leadership

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Michael J, Fox says it best:

“That’s the first rule of being a leader . . . just put your ego aside and find people that are smarter than you.  I found they exist in groves.”

Who do you know who has some expertise that you can tap into if you put your ego aside?  In chartering a new Rotary Club, made up mostly of young professionals, I am so in awe of the skills and their potential.

My young professionals have said yes to the “Service Above Self” way of life, to the 4-Way Test, and to doing great works in the world.   The first rule of leadership is alive and well at the Rotary Club of Greater Des Moines.

Influential Leadership: You Never Know When Those Seeds Will Sprout!

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who do you influence?  Who could you influence?  Have you ever thought about how far your leadership reaches?

This amazes me.  I received a note today from a Rotarian named Ruth who I had the pleasure of getting to know while leading an exchange team to Australia for Rotary International last year.  Her words made my heart sing!

She wrote that becuase of my “influential leadership” in explaining to her club that I was a Paul Harris Society member, she started a PHS chapter in her Rotary District and became a charter member.  To make it more exciting, RI President Ray Klingensmith, who my Rotary Club hosted last November, was able to attend her PHS charter dinner.  I was overjoyed with the news and thrilled to have had some of my planted seeds sprout up!

When I was visiting Australia and spoke of my love of The Rotary Foundation to all of the clubs I visited, I received many questions.  In Australia it is customary not to “purchase” a Paul Harris Fellow by contributing money to the Rotary Foundation, but rather it is “awarded” to a Rotarian for demonstrating service above self. I had to explain that in the US, we have both ways of obtaining a Paul Harris Fellow, and that both are very acceptable ways of achieving the leadership status that the award confers.

Ruth Little is an amazing woman and a great Rotarian, as is Past President Ingrid Mooney, who introduced us.  Ruth and husband Peter’s service work with orphans is being showcased by Australian Rotary District 9790 and DG Alan Anderson this weekend.

This is a great reminder to me, and I hope to you, that our leadership reaches others  through our words and actions.  We are influencing others every minute of every day.  Let’s strive to continue to be influential leaders with a positive impact on the lives of those we connect with. Ask yourself, “Whose life am I affecting today?”   You never know where those little seeds you planted will sprout!


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