It’s Not Just Okay to Dream, It’s Required

I’ve always been a dreamer. Always.
As soon as I reach one goal or accomplishment, I am usually plotting three more.
My dreams are typically out of reach, far fetched, and unattainable. Still, I go after it, reminding myself even if I am off, I’ll be better for having tried. You know what? Sometimes I hit the mark.

I’m a big fan of dreamers too. I have always been fond of inventors and entrepreneurs who set their sights on big acccomplishments. Their epic-sized dreams impact the world and make a difference.

Currently, I am a big fan of Elon Musk. He’s this far-out thinking inventor-entrepreneur that created PayPal, the Tesla’s self-driving electric car, and rocket technology that lands itself on floating, moving barges, and he has been tapped by the United States government to assist on a Mars expedition. He’s a dreamer. His dreams have paid off. Why not mine?

Tesla has a big announcement for tomorrow: First of all, I want to declare that I am a dreamer and I am never, ever, ever correct about product releases. My track record is horrible. Now, with that being said, here is my prediction for tomorrow: a flying car.

Elon Musk is the closest thing we have to a Tony Stark. The guy has self-driving electric cars, has partnered with the USA to send people to Mars in his rockets, and has built self-landing, reusable rockets.

How difficult would it be for this genius to extrapolate our existing hobbyist, quadcopter technology (GPS guided drones Like the DJI Phantom 4), enlarge it, combine it with his existing technology, and show us a prototype tomorrow? My rationale: Musk does BIG things. He would want a flying car. He is not afraid of putting ideas out there.

While tomorrow the company will probably only deliver a software upgrade to the existing Tesla models… I will be dreaming tonight of flying cars.

Here’s your permission slip everyone: it’s okay to dream, so dream big.

6 Things Olympic Athletes Do That We Should Implement

Photo 1465487031582 bbc9519cc957

Image by David Schap

The Olympics are amazing, but while I am utterly amazed I think most of us still really have no clue to how incredible these athletes truly are.  I really like comedian Bill Murray’s recent tweet, “Every Olympic event should include one average person competing for reference.”

What makes these athletes so incredible? Well, I won’t argue that genetically they have a lot going for them, but you would be a fool to underestimate how much they do mentally and physically to help themselves stand out and excel.

Olympic athletes have amazing focus and discipline. What can we learn from these incredible athletes to help us live better lives?

Olympic athletes: 

1) Visualize Success: Olympic athletes don’t just think positively, the speak positively using affirmations and verbal mantras and goals. They try to involve all five senses in this visulaization. They do this regularly. They literally see and practice success. I write about this in my book.

2) Have great coaches: Maybe you can’t afford a coach, but you can afford a book, a CD, or conference attendance. What resource can you obtain now to help you advance?

3) Don’t Believe in Life Balance: Olympic athletes are ‘all in.’  They realize sacrifices must be made. This may not work for you and me on a regular basis, but from time to time we need to ‘fully commit’ to realize and accomplish a life goal. I’m sure you can recall a time you did this and it made the difference. What needs more attention in your life?

Conversations and a Gathering of Great Minds

Bag and hands by Alejandro Escamilla

Image by Alejandro Escamilla

I recently had breakfast with an old friend at a restaurant. He told me he meets there with a group of men regularly, and they talk about education, kids, curriculum, and the world. They even had a little brass plaque on wall with their initials engraved on it.  It was early, but the conversation put my mind in the right mode of thinking for the entire day. New perspectives were shared. I saw topics in a new light, and, well, I shared some of my ideas too.

Today, I was listening to a few minutes of a show titled GPS on CNN. I caught it just by chance. Just one of those moments where I was getting a snack when I shouldn’t have, and the TV was on in the kitchen.  What a great show! I’m not sure I am intelligent enough to grasp everything it covered, but I enjoyed the variety and richness of discussion. The show focused on solutions and big ideas.

I was inspired by the host’s guest too, “Homeless Billionaire” Nicolas Berggruen, who has recently  started a ‘think tank” where the top minds of the world will gather and well… think. He is building an institute that focuses on free speech, curiosity, and diversity. Nicholas calls this institute a “secular monestary” where scholars will live, work, host meetings, and talk about a range of topics from technology, philosophy to government, and more! He says he wants to give the world a place where people can have conversations.

These two events, my friend’s gathering at breakfast and the CNN story, are the same concept at different levels. Both groups, one big and one small, are focused on getting great minds together and having a conversation.

Are we doing this? Are we having discussions? This is more than liking pictures and status updates. These are face-to-face conversations in real time. This is setting aside a time to meet in person, spend time together, talk and then collaborate on solutions.

I was fortunate to have been invited to Berlin, Germany this summer to do just that with amazing educators from all around the world at the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute 2016. It was amazing and beneficial. This was thinking big on a big scale. This should happen often and so should smaller discussions too, at smaller levels.

How can we do more of this?  How can you or I get a group of thinkers together to talk and collaborate?

I challenge you this week to do just that. Start something. Join something. If you accomplish it online, well, I guess that is okay,  but if you can find a way to meet in person I think you will see many added benefits.

As an English teacher I am reminded of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and G. K. Chester meeting at a pub regularly for a talk. They called themselves The Inlkings. What came from these “talks” is some of my favorite literature and essays.

On my podcast I recently interviewed two authors about a trip they took home after a conference. They rode together in a car and talked. From this conversation sprang forth the idea for a book which was recently published on a very important topic.

These ‘think tanks’ or conversations are important. While they of course can “just happen” from time to time, imagine the results if we actually planned a few.

Kelly Croy  • Speaker, Artist and Educator • Invite Kelly to speak at your event!
www.KellyCroy.com  •  info@kellycroy.com  •  1-800-831-4825 

Leaders Promote Others!

WE Promote others; leaders promote othersWhether you are the owner of a business, a manager of a team, a parent, or just a good friend, know that leaders promote the work of others.

I had a wonderful neighbor years ago that I  loved to talk with while she tended her flower gardern.  One day she said to me, “Do you know what I like best about you? You speak so well of others. You talk so well of your wife. You share the joys of your work. You recommend your friends to others. That’s a wonderful quality.”  While I enjoyed the compliment, I also thought long and hard about her words, and I wondered why more people don’t do the same.

One of the greatest joys of being a leader comes when we have an opportunity to  recognize others for their hard work. Recognizing is important and something all leaders should do.  Recognizing and promoting are not, however, the same. Recognizing could be accomplished in private, but when we promote someone, well, that is the ultimate form of recognition because you are attaching yourself to it and sharing it publicly.

My mom would always compliment my artwork, but the greatest memories I remember were when she hung it on the fridge, or told her friends about it. I loved that.  I still do. So… hang someone’s work on the proverbial fridge and promote them.

Don’t promote others expecting something in return for yourself.  It very likely will happen, but that is the wrong reason to do it. Promote others because you are genuinely impressed with their work.  Make note, however, when you promote the work of others routinely it always benefits you down the road. It doesn’t benefit you occassionaly, it benefits you regularly, but again, that’s not why you do it, and you can’t do it occassionally. Your promotion of others needs to become a part of your leadership style.

And once you get a reputation for promoting the work of others, you won’t believe the work people do for you!   (Click “Read More”  to find out how to really apply this leadership skill.)

Five Steps to Building Leadership in Your Organization

Fill in the moat KC speaker motivate team

Low productivity and morale can surface within any organization, and it’s really not that difficult to get everyone back on track. Every workplace is different, and there isn’t always a one-method-fixes-all solution. In this post I’m offering five great techniques to implement to get your organization from complaining to leading.

1) Show You Care: If you want to end morale issues in your organization and build leaders, then you need to build a rapport with your team. When you show your team kindness, that you care, and develop a genuine and consistent rapport, morale issues will fade. In its place, you will find team members looking out for one another, representing your agency with pride, and leadership at every transaction. Show you care.

2) Provide Leadership Opportunities: A lot of people read leadership books, watch clips on leadership, and talk about leadership, however, they don’t always put to action what they’ve read, heard, or discussed. If you want your organization to be full of solid leaders, you have to provide team members with leadership opportunities.  That’s right, you have to give them the authority to lead. You can’t expect a perfect outcome either, and I suppose that’s why a lot of people are afraid to let others take the lead on a project, but that is what it takes to build leaders, genuine opportunities and responsibilities. You can always sit a distant second-chair or check-in and let them know you can mentor and counsel, but you have to allow real opportunities with real consequences. You will be happy with the short term results, and you will be elated with the long-term impact on your organization. Provide leadership opportunities.

3) Take Action: The biggest morale buster in any organization is when committees are formed, meetings are held, and surveys are taken and then there is no follow-up or action.  It’s frustrating.  You might as well send a handwritten note to each member saying, “I don’t care what you think.”  Yep, it’s that bad.  If you ask for someone’s feedback, honor it.  Even if you can’t provide what they’ve requested, let them know that the feedback was important and it helped shape the outcome. Let them know they are important. When they offer feedback that you don’t like, don’t go to their supervisor trying to “get to the bottom of it” and smear some make-up over the blemish. Be thankful that they were honest and upfront. Don’t surround yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear.  Leaders take action.