May, 2013

Yes! Girls are Ninjas too!

Every once in awhile, while I continue to percolate on the edit for The Ninja Network book, I get a note from someone who has been patiently waiting for publication… reminding me of the potent power of Ninja.

Today’s provocation, from a parent:
“My kids are very into Ninjago (Lego ninjas) right now. They’ve been playing the video games and watching the movie and we suddenly realized that there are no females.  When my daughter asked if a girl can be a ninja, I could say without hesitation – absolutely yes!  They seem to make the best ninjas I know.  All your fault. Thanks.”
~ Jess, parent of “boy child” and “girl child”, aged 4andahalfno5 and almost7.

Seemed only fitting Jess’ kids be inducted as Ninja-in-Training.

Aware ~ Brave ~ Curious ~ Discreet ~ Encouraging ~ Focused ~ Generous ~ Helpful ~ Interested ~ Jovial ~ Kind ~ Loving ~ Masterful ~ Noble ~ Observant ~ Patient ~ Quick ~ Reliable ~ Strong ~ Virtuous ~ Willing ~ eXpert ~ Youthful ~ Zestful

The Ninja Network is all about bringing your gift and deploying it boldly.  Being aware, confident, responsible, grateful, and having at least one adventure every day.

Who can be Ninja?  Girls, Boys, Parents, Kids, Friends, Co-workers, Neighbors, Pets… quite frankly, everyone.  Every. Single. One.

Especially kitties.  Ninja Kitties.

So well trained in what we do, that we can help you.

Sneak Peek Book Look! #47LearningsForLeaders

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
~ from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

#47LearningsForLeaders – A Quick-Start Guide for Greatness Thrust Upon Us 

Coming soon!  Here’s a sneak peek:

1. We have to do it before we know how to do it.
2. Please. Please please please. Shut up.
3. Now that we have your attention… Listen.
4. Notice people.
5. Discover before you decide.
6. Everyone has a superhero skill. Suss it out.
7. Our greatest strength is often also our greatest weakness.
9. Talk to people, rather than about them.
10. Watch for wacky ideas from the new kid. Try the tried and tested from old faithful.
11. Free the “Za!”

Za! A particularly potent example of personal panache:
Jane the Phoole

Zest. Verve. Panache. Awesomesauce. Call it what you want, it’s all personal style. The flair folks have for their own way of doing things brings personality and differentiates. Create an unfettered environment where people feel free to invest their uncensored selves, and you’ll be wholly delighted with the results.

12. The corporate curmudgeon may be your best cheerleader.
13. Speak in positives.
14. Give credit where credit is due.
15. Every day is your big audition.
16. Be visible and transparent.
17. Get uncomfortable.
18. Today is a good day to be smarter than you were yesterday.
19. Ask yourself… Can you really squeeze anyone through a knothole?
20. You can start (or stop) anything. Right now.
21. Laugh at yourself.
22. Buy a disco ball.
23. Learn to ride the mechanical bull.
24. Hey cowboy, hand over the reins.
25. Start training your replacement NOW.
26. Make a list. Check it twice.
27. Say what you are going to do and do what you say.
28. Tell the truth.
29. Own up.
30. Skip the freakout.
31. Know your options and choose your battles.
32. Measure twice. Cut once.

33. Encourage self-select.
34. Take seriously what others take seriously.
35. Vacation. (From the way you usually do it.)
36. Forget secrets.
37. Title entitlement is tedious.
38. If you want a different answer, ask a different question.
39. Be the first to bust a move, and boogie ’til the end.
40. Inspiration happens.
41. Timing is everything.
42. Ditch the armor.
43. Bring your gift.
44. You can do it alone, but you don’t have to.
45. Macromanage.
46. Three little words. Please come back.
47. You get it. You got it. Go get ’em!

Driving FOREWORD: #47LearningsForLeaders

Today I am pedal-to-the-metal word-sprinting. Going the distance between the flag drop and the finish line. Instead of spending fuel, I’m filling the tank with text of my second book:
#47LearningsForLeaders – A Quick-Start Guide for Greatness Thrust Upon Us

Leadership Road Trip

Feel like revving your engine a bit? Read the first-draft foreword:

I grew up in the 70s, a time we think of as progressive, poignant, and perched on the edge of idyllic freedom. Flowers in the hair, cross-country road trips, and Neil Diamond on the 8-track. I was princess of the back seat, sprawled out and surrounded with Little Golden Books, homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, and a handmade doll my mom fashioned for me out of a pink fabric Handi Wipe. My dad drove and my mom held the map. Her job was to navigate, but he didn’t always listen. He was the boss. Sometimes we got lost, bobbing along pothole-riddled back roads, not entirely certain that the shortcut our leader had chosen was a sure thing.

Leadership is like that. We wake up one day and find ourselves in the driver’s seat, the road unfurled before us and the car already rocketing a little dangerously above the posted speed limit. We hesitate to pause or take our eyes away from the road long enough to peek at the map. We neglect to ask for help or directions. We get frustrated, clench our teeth, sink in our heels. We guess and end up rattling down the wrong track.

The further we went down that dead-end road, the more my dad fumed. Even at five, I could see how scary it must be to be the boss. No wonder he was grumpy. No wonder my mom was silent and still. I wondered over it for a while, chewing on a cookie, looking for a solution.

Then I looked at the pink blankie on my lap; my symbol of comfort and safety. I thought about how reassuring it is to hide underneath the pink blankie, how nothing scary can penetrate the safety of the pink blankie, how everyone could feel better cozied up to the pink blankie.

I put down my cookie, picked up the pink blankie, scooted forward on my perch in the back seat, and popped the pink blankie over my dad’s head.

He stopped.
We reset.
We consulted our compass and set out fresh.

Sometimes we need a break from the breakneck speed of leadership to reconsider our trajectory. A leadership role is often popped upon us unexpectedly, providing little time to prepare or plot a course. Of course, others have blazed the trail of leadership before us. I’ve set my compass by the examples of some of the best, and mapped my 47 favorites.

First day on the job (aka school) wielding my lunchbox